September 13, 2011

Since soccer season is starting, we decided that today’s Cool Photo of the Week should be of a soccer ball in space! NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope captured this image of Kronberger 61, known as the "Soccer Ball" Nebula.

A nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in outer space. They occur when a star starts to die because it has run out of fuel. The outer layers of the star explode, giving off layers of gas that form a planetary nebula around the dying star. It gives off a fluorescent glow because of the intensity of the radiation from the star.

The Soccer Ball Nebula was discovered by an amateur astronomer over the summer, and scientists plan to watch it in hope of learning more about how planetary nebulas are formed.

Photo: Gemini Observatory / AURA

P.S. Do they call this the "Football Nebula" outside the United States? British, Canadian, Australian readers - someone comment and let me know! 

 


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Posted by: Seymour Simon

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