Planetary nebula M2-9

Planetary nebula M2-9

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Credit: T. RECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA/NOAO/AURA/ NSF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Planetary nebula M2-9, infrared image. The nebula comprises shells of gas cast off from the central star near the end of its life. The highly directional flow of gas has led to it being nicknamed the Twin Jet nebula, or the Wings of a Butterfly nebula. It is thought that the shape is due to the rotation of the star. Planetary nebulae form when a Sun-like star runs out of fuel near the end of its life. The core contracts and heats up and the outer layers are cast off into space. Radiation from the exposed core ionises the gas shells, causing them to emit light. This image was taken by the Near Infrared Imager (NIRI) on the Gemini North telescope, Hawaii, USA.

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Keywords: 21st century, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, bilobed, bipolar, gas, gemini north, infrared, ir, m2-9, nebula, niri, ophiuchus, planetary nebula, protoplanetary nebula, shell, shells, space, star death, stellar, telescope, twin jet, wings of a butterfly, young

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