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Unstrange Phenomena

10 September 2009

Astronomy: Butterfly Nebula

From Denny: This week, Sept. 9, NASA's been releasing new Hubble Telescope photos taken since those billion dollar repairs of the Telescope in May. The new photos are sharper of awesomely beautiful nebulas and galaxies in our universe, some with halo effects of light.

The Butterfly Nebula is known by other names such as the Bug Nebula and proper - and boring - catalogue name of NGC 6302. The Butterfly Nebula is in our own Milky Way Galaxy! It's approximately about 3,800 light years away in the constellation of Scorpius.

How did this nebula get that cool looking glowing effect on its outer edges? Photoshop, cosmic level? No, it's caused by a glowing gas that's being expelled out over 2,200 years! Quite the spectacular view from our perspective.

The butterfly shape stretches out over two light years. How do you envision the distance of two light years? It's about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
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