Have you ever considered what dying stars look like? Me neither, but apparently it is pretty spectacular. The space telescope Hubble managed to capture some amazing shots of a star erupting and dying – and it has exceeded our expectations.
More than just beautiful, the footage captured by the telescope has given scientists deeper insight into the life of stars.
Closer examination of the dust and gas emitted from stars when they erupt can allow us to better understand how and why stars die in the first place.
Hubble managed to follow the lifespan of two of the dustiest and gassiest stars in our solar system; known as NGC 6303 and NGC 7027 – very scientific and not so romantic. But the telescope definitely got all up and intimate with the two stars using the attached Wide Field 3 camera, and astronomer Joel Kastner admits he was stunned by the imagery:
“These new multi-wavelength Hubble observations provide the most comprehensive view to date of both of these spectacular nebulae. As I was downloading the resulting images, I felt like a kid in a candy store.”
The pictures also revealed that both stars have high ionisation and excitation. Yeah, I had no idea what that meant either but apparently it means that they are extremely hot which helps to generate those incredible glowing clouds. But most interesting for scientists is the ability for these images to monitor shocks generated by periodic stellar winds grinding into the denser clouds. The results are imprints and walls in the nebulae which can be further investigated to reveal events in the stars’ history.
Super interesting stuff and way too scientific for me to fully understand. But I can definitely appreciate the aesthetic beauty of these dying stars. Check out more below: