Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Beautiful Death: Red Square Nebula

From a New Scientist article:
A newly discovered nebula, called the 'Red Square', displays a dazzling, gem-like symmetry, new observations reveal. But the nature of the star or stars that produced it remains a mystery.

Towards the end of their lives, many low-mass stars, like the Sun, slough off their outer layers to produce striking 'planetary' nebulae. But the hot star at the heart of the Red Square nebula, called MWC 922, appears to be relatively massive, suggesting another process formed its signature shape.

"How did all this beautiful, crisp structure form?" asks Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney in Australia. "This is the million dollar question."

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