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Square nebula Astronomical digital images

Square nebula Astronomical digital images


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How can a round star create a square nebula? This question comes to us when we study planetary nebulae like IC 4406.

The evidence indicates that IC 4406 is like a hollow cylinder, but its square appearance is the result of the point of view from where we see the cylinder, that is, from the side. If we looked at IC 4406 from above, it would look more like the already known Ring Nebula.

This color image is a composition made by combining images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Hot gas flows out of the end of the cylinder, where the filaments of dark dust and molecular gas are found in the cylinder walls.

The star primarily responsible for this interstellar sculpture can be found in the center of the planetary nebula. In a few million years, the only thing visible in IC 4406 will be a fading white dwarf star.

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