Photo of the day: gorgeous necklace two light years across
The NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope has a beautiful picture of the Necklace Nebula, about 15,000 light-years away, under the heading Picture of the Week.
The imprinted structure is also known as PN G054.2-03.4. It is located in the small faint constellation of Arrows. The object was discovered relatively recently – in 2005, during the IPHAS survey.
A binary star system forms the nebula. Approximately 10 thousand years ago, one of these luminaries expanded to such a size that it engulfed a companion. At the same time, the smaller star continued to orbit inside the expanded star, increasing the rotation speed of the giant star. Under such conditions, the gaseous envelope of a huge star expands into space. The nebula is approximately two light-years in diameter.
The presented image is composite: it is compiled from several images transmitted to Earth from the Hubble. The survey was carried out using the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, the most technologically advanced instrument of the space observatory. Below you can see the image in full resolution (click to enlarge):