Nav: Home

Hubble's cosmic bubbles

April 21, 2017

This entrancing image shows a few of the tenuous threads that comprise Sh2-308, a faint and wispy shell of gas located 5,200 light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog).

Sh2-308 is a large bubble-like structure wrapped around an extremely large, bright type of star known as a Wolf-Rayet Star -- this particular star is called EZ Canis Majoris. These type of stars are among the brightest and most massive stars in the Universe, tens of times more massive than our own sun, and they represent the extremes of stellar evolution. Thick winds continually poured off the progenitors of such stars, flooding their surroundings and draining the outer layers of the Wolf-Rayet stars. The fast wind of a Wolf-Rayet star therefore sweeps up the surrounding material to form bubbles of gas.

EZ Canis Majoris is responsible for creating the bubble of Sh2-308 -- the star threw off its outer layers to create the strands visible here. The intense and ongoing radiation from the star pushes the bubble out farther and farther, blowing it bigger and bigger. Currently the edges of Sh2-308 are some 60 light-years apart!

Beautiful as these cosmic bubbles are, they are fleeting. The same stars that form them will also cause their death, eclipsing and subsuming them in violent supernova explosions.
-end-
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text credit: European Space Agency

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Sun Articles:

Finally, understanding how the sun's spicules are made
For the first time, researchers have built a model that accurately explains the formation of abundant jets of plasma in the Sun's atmosphere, called spicules.
Sun's eruptions might all have same trigger
Large and small scale solar eruptions might all be triggered by a single process, according to new research that leads to better understanding of the sun's activity.
How much sun is good for our health?
Spanish researchers have estimated the duration of solar radiation exposure required in order to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D.
What happened to the sun over 7,000 years ago?
By analyzing the level of a carbon isotope in tree rings from a specimen of an ancient bristlecone pine, a team led by Nagoya University researchers has revealed that the sun exhibited a unique pattern of activity in 5480 BC.
ALMA starts observing the sun
New images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed otherwise invisible details of our sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted center of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.
NASA's Sun-observing IRIS mission
The sun may seem static from Earth's vantage point, 93 million miles away, but our star is constantly changing.
Are planets setting the sun's pace?
The sun's activity is determined by the sun's magnetic field.
Face changing technology showing sun damage is most effective at promoting sun safe behavior
Researchers from the University of Surrey examined the way sun safe messages are conveyed to young women, and found that visual communication using technology to age participant's faces to emphasis sun damage and premature aging is most effective.
Saved by the sun
A new twist on the use of renewable energy is saving children's lives in Africa.
Why do sunbathers live longer than those who avoid the sun?
New research looks into the paradox that women who sunbathe are likely to live longer than those who avoid the sun, even though sunbathers are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Related Sun Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#518 With Genetic Knowledge Comes the Need for Counselling
This week we delve into genetic testing - for yourself and your future children. We speak with Jane Tiller, lawyer and genetic counsellor, about genetic tests that are available to the public, and what to do with the results of these tests. And we talk with Noam Shomron, associate professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, about technological advancements his lab has made in the genetic testing of fetuses.