Thousands of light years away, there is a “space butterfly” which is bright blue with purple and red clouds. It’s an appearance we’ve never seen in such focused detail before.
It is named because of its resemblance to the insect “butterfly”. This is actually a planetary nebula, a giant gas cloud that forms around an ancient, unexploded star.
The CNN report quoted Thursday (6/8/2020) said, the European Space Observatory (ESO) recently captured clear images of the interstellar object with the Very Large Telescope, which is stationed in the host country Chile.
The object known as NGC 2899 is a nebula located between 3,000 and 6,500 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Vela.
Do not live long
This planetary nebula did not live long in the universe. ESO says that the ultraviolet radiation absorbed by the gaseous layers of the nebula causes them to shine quite brightly, but only for a few thousand years before they die.
“That’s a relatively short life span in astronomy,” explained the ESO.
The Very Large Telescope that captures the image is “the world’s most advanced optical instrument,” according to ESO.
With an interferometer at its disposal, it can capture 25 times better detailed images than individual telescopes.
And most certainly, the telescope installed in the mountains of Chile can see objects that are more than 4 billion times dimmer than the human eye can see.