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Hubble sees J 900 masquerading as a double star

Date:
April 2, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Jonckheere 900 or J 900, a planetary nebula -- glowing shells of ionized gas pushed out by a dying star. Discovered in the early 1900s by astronomer Robert Jonckheere, the dusty nebula is small but fairly bright, with a relatively evenly spread central region surrounded by soft wispy edges.

Planetary nebula Jonckheere 900.
Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Jonckheere 900 or J 900, a planetary nebula -- glowing shells of ionized gas pushed out by a dying star. Discovered in the early 1900s by astronomer Robert Jonckheere, the dusty nebula is small but fairly bright, with a relatively evenly spread central region surrounded by soft wispy edges.

Despite the clarity of this Hubble image, the two objects in the picture above can be confusing for observers. J 900's nearby companion, a faint star in the constellation of Gemini, often causes problems for observers because it is so close to the nebula -- when observation conditions are bad, this star seems to merge into J 900, giving it an elongated appearance. Hubble's position above the Earth's atmosphere means that this is not an issue for the space telescope.

Astronomers have also mistakenly reported observations of a double star in place of these two objects, as the planetary nebula is quite small and compact.

J 900's central star is only just visible in this image, and is very faint -- fainter than the nebula's neighbor. The nebula appears to display a bipolar structure, where there are two distinct lobes of material emanating from its center, enclosed by a bright oval disk.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Hubble sees J 900 masquerading as a double star." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402101919.htm>.
NASA. (2013, April 2). Hubble sees J 900 masquerading as a double star. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402101919.htm
NASA. "Hubble sees J 900 masquerading as a double star." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402101919.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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