NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 7 May 2023: Helix Nebula! Will our Sun turn into THIS? | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 7 May 2023: Helix Nebula! Will our Sun turn into THIS?

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day today is that of a Helix Nebula, which is said to be formed by the death of a Sun-like star.

| Updated on: May 07 2023, 16:02 IST
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Helix Nebula
1/5 The Great Carina Nebula is about 8500 light-years away from Earth. (Carlos Taylor/NASA)
Helix Nebula
2/5 Flat rocks on Mars (May 2) - Flat rock hills on the surface of Mars were shot by NASA’s Curiosity Rover. When compared to the steep rocks of Earth, Martian rocks are considerably flat everywhere. This is because the Martian geography has been shaped by impact processes, erosion in particular. The Martian wind, which is 95% Carbon Dioxide, acts as sandpaper and rubs against the rocks, which flattens them. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Neville Thompson)
Helix Nebula
3/5 Centaurus A Galaxy (May 3) - This captured image shows the elliptical galaxy NGC 5128, also known as Centaurus A. This peculiar galaxy is located about 11 million light-years away towards the constellation of Centaurus and spans about 60,000 light-years across. According to NASA, Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to Earth and is the result of the collision of two galaxies which caused star clusters and dark dust lanes to jumble up.  (NASA/Marco Lorenzi/Angus Lau/Tommy Tse)
Helix Nebula
4/5 Messier 87’s Supermassive Black Hole (May 4) - The image shows the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87. Messier 87 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy located about 55 million light-years away towards the constellation of Virgo. Alongside the black hole, relativistic jet blasting from the galaxy’s central region can be observed. This is due to ionized matter within the jet moving at the speed of light. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Event Horizon Telescope)
Helix Nebula
5/5 Shackleton crater on the Moon (May 5) - It is a snapshot of Shackleton crater located on the South Pole of the Moon. According to NASA, peaks along the Shackleton crater's rim are exposed to almost continual sunlight, while the interior is perpetually in shadow. This is due to the Moon being slightly tilted on its axis. The lunar South Pole, which is where this crater is located, has also been chosen as one of the most probable landing sites for future Moon missions. ( NASA/ShadowCam/Korea Aerospace Research Institute/Arizona State University)
Helix Nebula
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Helix Nebula is located approximately 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. (CFHT, Coelum, MegaCam, J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT) & G. A. Anselmi (Coelum))

Nebulae are colossal clouds of gas and dust in outer space that serve as the birthplace of stars, commonly referred to as "stellar nurseries," and occasionally the site of their demise - and sometimes both. One such nebula is the Helix Nebula, which is said to be one of the brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula. That means, it is a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. While sharing a picture of this spooky nebula, which was taken with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) located atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii, USA, NASA asked, "Will our Sun look like this one day?"

From the viewing angle, it seems like we are observing a helix when we see the outer gases of the star being thrown out into space. NASA explains that the central stellar core, which will eventually turn into a white dwarf star, emits intense light that causes the previously thrown-out gas to glow. While examining the inner edge of the Helix Nebula, it's evident that there are intricate gas knots with unknown origins, the space agency said.

More about Helix Nebula

The NGC 7293, commonly known as the Helix Nebula, is located approximately 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius and has a diameter of about 2.5 light-years. This nebula is a planetary nebula, which is formed from the remnants of stars that resemble our sun.

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NASA says that these stars spend their lifetime undergoing nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, converting hydrogen into helium, and generating light and heat. When the sun exhausts its fuel in about five billion years, it will transform into a planetary nebula.

Not just planetary nebulae, but nebulae form in places where the interstellar medium has enough density to form clouds. This could be possible due to gravity, which might have pulled all the gas and dust together or as mentioned earlier because of the death of a star which emits its particles into space.

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First Published Date: 07 May, 16:02 IST