So named for its resemblance to the winged insect, the “butterfly” is definitely a planetary nebula — an enormous cloud of fuel that kinds round an historical star that hasn’t but exploded. The European Space Observatory’s
(ESO) aptly named Very Large Telescope, stationed in host nation Chile, just lately captured a vibrant picture of the interstellar object.
It’s referred to as NGC 2899 (NGC stands for New General Catalogue, which lists nebulae and different astral our bodies like this one). It’s situated someplace between 3,000 and 6,500 mild years away from Earth within the constellation Vela, which is seen within the Southern Hemisphere.
This planetary nebula is not lengthy for this universe. Ultraviolet radiation lights up the shells of fuel surrounding the star and causes them to shine fairly brightly, the ESO mentioned — however just for just a few thousand years earlier than they break up. That’s a comparatively quick life span in astronomy.
The Very Large Telescope that captured the picture is the “world’s most advanced optical instrument,” according to the ESO
. With the accompanying interferometer, the software can illuminate particulars 25 occasions finer than particular person telescopes. And by itself, the telescope tucked within the Chilean mountains can see issues greater than four billion occasions fainter than what the human eye may see.