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Planetary nebula lasers

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:24 pm

Astronomical masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) were first identified in space over fifty years ago and have since been seen in many locations; astronomical lasers have since been seen as well. Some of the most spectacular masers are found in regions of active star formation; in one case the region radiates as much energy in a single spectral line as does our Sun in its entire visible spectrum. Typically the maser radiation comes from molecules like water or OH that are excited by collisions and the radiation environment around young stars. In 1989, maser emission from atoms of atomic hydrogen gas was discovered around the star MWC349.

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Post by Dragon Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:25 pm

Planetary nebula lasers Planetaryneb
Credit: NASA/Hubble

The Ant Nebula (Menzel 3) as seen by Hubble. Astronomers have detected hydrogen laser emission from this object – the first time lasers or masers have been convincingly seen in a planetary nebula.

Source / Image Courtesy


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Post by Dragon Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:26 pm



A new Hubble Space Telescope image shows off the Twin Jet Nebula, highlighting the nebula’s shells and its knots of expanding gas in striking detail.

Two iridescent lobes of material stretch outwards from a central star system. Within these lobes two huge jets of gas are streaming from the star system at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour.

The glowing and expanding shells of gas clearly visible in this image represent the final stages of life for an old star of low to intermediate mass.

The star has not only ejected its outer layers, but the exposed remnant core is now illuminating these layers — resulting in a spectacular light show like the one seen here.


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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:29 pm



"Why isn't this ant a big sphere? Planetary nebula Mz3 is being cast off by a star similar to our Sun that is, surely, round.

One possible answer is that Mz3 is hiding a second, dimmer star that orbits close in to the bright star.

A competing hypothesis holds that the central star's own spin and magnetic field are channeling the gas."




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Post by Dragon Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:33 pm



Planetary nebulae form when dying stars cast off their outer layers of gas. Astronomers combined observations from many telescopes to envision a three-dimensional form for the Helix Nebula, the planetary nebula closest to Earth


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