NASA releases beautiful 'Bubble Nebula' image on Hubble Telescope's 26th birthday
Posted April 24, 2016
SPACE — Astronomers highlighted a beautiful image of a Bubble Nebula Thursday to celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's 26th birthday.
The spacecraft captured the image of the enormous bubble in February as it was being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star, according to a NASA press release.
“As Hubble makes its 26th revolution around our home star, the sun, we celebrate the event with a spectacular image of a dynamic and exciting interaction of a young star with its environment. The view of the Bubble Nebula, crafted from WFC-3 images, reminds us that Hubble gives us a front row seat to the awe-inspiring universe we live in,” said John Grunsfeld, a Hubble astronaut.
The Bubble Nebula and the star forming it are absolutely massive. The nebula is seven light-years across and resides 7,100 light-years away from Earth, according to NASA. The star forming it is 45 times more massive than our own sun.
The bubble forms due to gas on the star getting too hot and escaping away into space as a “stellar wind," speeding away at over four million miles per hour, according to NASA. The different colors come from gases being heated at various temperatures. Oxygen is hot enough to emit blue light while hydrogen and nitrogen produce the yellow.
The whole process makes for a spectacular photo opportunity, and thankfully, we have Hubble to give us those images.
The Telescope was launched into space on April 24, 1990.