NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula

This one blows my mind … you can click on the picture for a high resolution image …

This beautiful emission nebula is visible as an extremely faint and large shell around its star. It might give the impression that its a fragile and delicate soap bubble decorating the havens, but in reality it has a diameter of 10 light-years and is evidence for some extremely violent processes. Above and right of the Bubble’s center is a hot, O-type star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and approximately 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surrounding molecular cloud.

Its about 11,000 light-years away.

A false-color Hubble palette was used to create this sharp image and shows emission from sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in red, green, and blue hues. The image data was recorded using a small telescope under clear, steady skies, from Mount Wilson Observatory.

The Bubble Nebula is actually the smallest of three bubbles surrounding massive star BD+602522, and part of gigantic bubble network S162 created with the help of other massive stars. As fast moving gas expands off BD+602522, it pushes surrounding sparse gas into a shell. The energetic starlight then ionizes the shell, causing it to glow.

Even now we have only scraped the surface of what is out there, there is still so much more to discover.

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