Tags: hubble | blue bubble | interstellar | cloud

Hubble 'Blue Bubble': Telescope Spots Interstellar Cloud Light-Years Away

Image: Hubble 'Blue Bubble': Telescope Spots Interstellar Cloud Light-Years Away
The Hubble Space Telescope spotted a "blue bubble" around a star 30,000 light-years away. (ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt)

By    |   Monday, 29 Feb 2016 03:54 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope's "Blue Bubble" is the latest image to capture the fancy of space gazers.

The blue bubble that appears to encircle a star in the image is a Wolf–Rayet nebula, “an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases,” NASA explained.



Located about 30,000 light-years away, the blue bubble was formed about 20,000 years ago by speedy stellar winds interacting with the outer layers of hydrogen ejected by the Wolf–Rayet star, known as WR 31a in the constellation of Carina.

Wolf–Rayet stars are massive (about 20 times bigger than the sun) and burn hotter and brighter than the sun, The Christian Science Monitor noted. They’re also short lived, lasting about 100,000 years, compared with the sun, which has been burning for billions of years. The star will eventually explode into a supernova.

The intense energy of the Wolf–Rayet star helped produce the “blue bubble” nebula, which is expanding at about 136,000 miles per hour as heat and radiation cause the outer layers of the star to be ejected.

The Washington Post’s Speaking of Science blogger Rachel Feltman put words to the awe inspired by the image: “The universe is beautiful and big, and there’s something pretty calming about that. Just try to keep stressing about your commute with this (image) on your screen.”

Twitter users had fun with word play about Hubble's blue bubble.







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The Hubble Space Telescope's "Blue Bubble" is the latest image to capture the fancy of space gazers. The blue bubble that appears to encircle a star in the image is a Wolf–Rayet nebula, "an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases," NASA explained.
hubble, blue bubble, interstellar, cloud
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2016-54-29
Monday, 29 Feb 2016 03:54 PM
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