Picture of the day: this is NGC 2022 turning into a red giant

We know the process of formation of red giants quite well. Nevertheless, the photo taken at the appropriate stage of this evolution can be breathtaking. See for yourself:


Were it not for the star itself, which can be seen perfectly in the middle of the nebula, you might think that the picture shows a cell or bacterium viewed under a microscope. Funny how micro and macrocosm can be similar to each other.

Red giant NGC 2022

Let's return to what is actually in the picture. In this case, it is the NGC 2022 star, which is very similar to our Sun, except that it has already changed into the so-called the red giant. During this process, the star loses even half of its mass - the rejected layers take the form of gas clouds that look great in front of the telescope's lens.

Everything, of course, thanks to the very core of the star, which as a result of contraction increases its temperature. This, in turn, leads to an increased emission of ultraviolet radiation, which illuminates in a climatic manner all gaseous clouds formed as a result of rejection by the forming giant. These types of objects are called planetary nebulae because of their round, planet-like shape.

Hubble's 29 years

This year, 29 years have passed since the Hubble Telescope orbits Earth and takes hundreds of thousands of images of space. Every year, the famous telescope takes its anniversary photos. Thanks to this tradition, in 2019 we can see, for example, new photographs of the stunning South Crab Nebula .

Hubble has been serviced five times in space. Already after the launch of HST into orbit, it turned out that the main mirror has an incorrect profile. This translated into lower image quality than initially assumed. Thanks to service missions it was possible not only to repair the mirror, but also other components, as well as replace the observation instruments with more modern ones. The Wide Field Camera 3 currently in use was installed in May 2009. Thanks to it, such miracles are available on the network.

Picture of the day: this is NGC 2022 turning into a red giant


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