Prawn Nebula Shows Cosmic Recycling

Posted: Sep 3 2015, 6:27pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Prawn Nebula Shows Cosmic Recycling
ESO
  • The Prawn Nebula offers an outstanding look of Cosmic recycling

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For millions of years stars have been created due to the gas in the nebula.

When talking about nebulas, all of them are different from each other. Some of these nebulas do not emit any light at all. These appear as dark streaks across the cosmos.

Some nebulas even reflect the light of nearby stars while others emit their own light in optical wavelengths. And these are called emission nebulas. Thanks to the Prawn Nebula we have had a chance to look at these emission nebulas and they are magnificent to behold.

One of the most famous emission nebulas is the Orion Nebula. Plus the Prawn Nebula has a lot going for it too. It is a stellar nursery and this means that it contains a lot of hot, young, bright stars.

Two of the stars are rare O-type stars. These are very large and very hot, glowing blue-white. These stars are also known as blue giants and are very short lived.

This is because of their size so they tend to burn out quickly. It is these two blue giants that make the gas of the Prawn Nebula glow along with help from some other young stars.

These stars also give off huge amounts of ultraviolet radiation. This ultraviolet radiation then leads to the breakdown of the nebula’s hydrogen gas into the component nuclei and electrons. This process is called ionization.

But when these nuclei and electrons recombine they tend to have much higher energy levels than before. This is then released in the form of light which causes the nebula to glow. The Prawn Nebula is huge and comes in at around 250 light years in diameter.

Apart from having the two blue giants and other very young stars, it is also in the process of stellar formation. In this process the dust and gas collapse into a core in order to form the very early stages of a baby star.

The regions in which this stellar formation is still taking place are quite visible in this new image. They are seen as dense clouds in the new image. These are created when stars go supernova and this leaves behind clouds of dust and gas. This then goes on to perpetuate the cycle of stellar life.

If anyone of you is in the southern hemisphere and are in possession of a powerful telescope, then point it in the direction of the constellation Scorpius.

The Prawn Nebula is around 6000 light years away and is projected to cover a region of sky around four times the size of the full moon. So keep in mind that it’s very faint and will not be spotted from a smaller telescope.

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