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Anne’s Image of Today: Minkowski’s Footprint

16 Jul 2014, 14:36 UTC
Anne’s Image of Today: Minkowski’s Footprint
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July 16, 2014 Minkowski’s Footprint, a protoplanetary nebula in Cygnus Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA Minkowski’s Footprint [designated Minkowski 92 (M1-92) and IRAS 19343+2926] is a bipolar protoplanetary nebula, located about 8,000 light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Cygnus (the Swan), that features two vast onion-shaped structures on either side of a central [continue reading]

July 16, 2014
Minkowski’s Footprint, a protoplanetary nebula in Cygnus

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Minkowski’s Footprint [designated Minkowski 92 (M1-92) and IRAS 19343+2926] is a bipolar protoplanetary nebula, located about 8,000 light-years away from Earth in the northern constellation of Cygnus (the Swan), that features two vast onion-shaped structures on either side of a central ageing star.
Despite their name, protoplanetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets: they are clouds of dust and gas formed from material shed by an aging central star with a mass up to eight times that of the Sun. For such a star death is a long process. After billions of years, the hydrogen fuel that powers the star begins to run out. The star balloons to great size and becomes a red giant. Eventually, however, the star collapses back on itself. This increases the ...

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