Nebula Butterfly
Nebula Butterfly
Nebula Butterfly
Nebula Butterfly

Nebula Butterfly

A powerful butterfly indeed!

What looks like delicate butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of super-heated 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit gas. The gas is racing across space at 600,000 MPH.  This Hubble beauty is a big favorite!

A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope.

The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, snapped this image of the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula. WFC3 was installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009, during the servicing mission to upgrade and repair the 19-year-old Hubble telescope.