10 February 2006

Pop stars

Consider the Butterfly Nebula:

butterfly nebula

I would have thought “Double Jellyfish Nebula” more appropriate, but apparent Jellyfish Nebula was already taken and confusion would ensue.

Now consider the Ant Nebula:

ant nebula

Now consider the Black Widow Nebula:

black widow nebula

Now consider NGC 3079:

ngc 3079

Do y’all see any similarity in structure?

Yet this is a galaxy, not a stellar nebula. If the effects are related, they evidently debugged any scalability issues.

Now here’s a different question about the Rotten Egg nebula:

rotten egg nebula

How did this one get to be so lopsided? All of the other nebulae that have any structure at all seem to be more or less evenly balanced, like Eta Carinae.

eta carinae

There doesn’t seem to be another star involved, so why such dramatic asymmetry?

Finally, there's this one (more pictures and links here):

supernova 1987A

Given the “splatter disc” or ring around the waist of several other nebulae, I suppose something like this was more or less inevitable, but why does the ejecta bunch up like that? Also, this is at the heart of a supernova, not an “ordinary” nova like the others. It could, however, be a relatively neat answer to the problem of planet formation.


M said...

whoa, fantastic pics there Leon, truly awe inspiring stuff.

Leon Brooks said...

Have to confess, I didn’t take them myself. (-: