In a very rare and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the death of a star called Calabash Nebula was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The crystal clear imagery is valued so much by astronomers to give way for further studies about the star’s transformation process.
Hubble Captured Death of A Star
The Hubble Space Telescope caught a moment of phenomenal spatial breakthrough; a moment we have never seen before and might never see again. The image released by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) shows the dying stars’ transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula.
The nebula, technically called OH 231.84 +4.22, was seen expelling its outer layer of gas and dust into the outer space. Yellow gasses that can be viewed on the image fascinatingly hit a speed of a million kilometers per hour (621, 371 miles per hour).
This phenomenon is considered very rare because the evolution of a star in this certain phase only happens in the blink of an eye, in terms of astronomy, of course. That is why the stunning imagery produced by the space telescope is undoubtedly awe-worthy.
Located in the constellation Puppis, this dying star is also cheekily known as Rotten Egg Nebula because of its high sulfur concentration and sulfur smells like rotten eggs when combined with other elements. Thankfully, we are 5,000 light years away to get a sniff of it.
The Wonder of a Star’s Death
There are incalculable stars in the galaxy. To be a bit more specific, our galaxy alone has around 200 to 400 billions of stars. The universe, meanwhile, has an estimated 500 billion galaxies – huge numbers that are hard to wrap around with our minds, which makes witnessing this particular star’s death even more unique.
Stars die when they have used up all their hydrogen fuel. For large stars, they swell into super red giants that try to survive as long as it can. By the time it can no longer find a way to stay alive (by burning various fuels), it will blow up in a massive supernova explosion that outshines any other object in space before fading into nothingness: a black hole.
Meanwhile, the elements left scattered by the super giant in space called stardust will then become other stars and planets. Our very own Sun, meanwhile, will eventually go through a bit of the same fate.
The Calabash Nebula closely resembles the Sun which is both terrifying and stunning as we have already witnessed what has happened. It will also happen to us in a billion years. Our Sun will become a red giant that will consume Mercury, Venus, and Earth before collapsing into a white dwarf.