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See pic: NASA's Hubble spots blue bubble encircling Wolf-Rayet star!

Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2016 - 13:39
See pic: NASA's Hubble spots blue bubble encircling Wolf-Rayet star!
Image courtesy: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: NASA's space telescope Hubble was launched into space in 1990. 26 years later, the largest space telescope still remains in operation.

With its 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) mirror, near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectra, Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has sent back extremely high-resolution images with negligible background light. Hubble has recorded some of the most detailed visible-light images ever, allowing a deep view into space and time.

Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe.

This time, NASA has released another image beamed back by Hubble, which shows a bright and shining Wolf-Rayet star, also known as WR 31a, located about 30,000 light years away in the constellation of Carina (The Keel).

But that's not all! The star seems to be enclosed in a distinctive blue bubble, called Wolf-Rayet nebula.

According to NASA, the bubble is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases. Created when speedy stellar winds interact with the outer layers of hydrogen ejected by Wolf–Rayet stars, these nebulae are frequently ring-shaped or spherical. The bubble — estimated to have formed around 20,000 years ago — is expanding at a rate of around 220,000 kilometers (136,700 miles) per hour!  

First Published: Saturday, February 27, 2016 - 08:58

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