kronberger 61

plantkathasmoved  asked:

What's your favorite nebula so far?

I like this Hubble WCF3 image of the Carina Nebula because it looks like an ancient, turbaned monkey sage raising his finger to drop some knowledge on us mere mortals.

I’ve never seen a picture of the Lagoon Nebula that didn’t make me say “hot damn.”

And the Soccer Ball Nebula (Kronberger 61). It was discovered by an amateur astronomer, and the post I wrote on it earned me a spot as a writer for this page.

Plus, it looks like a soccer ball.

This cosmic soccer ball (or football for my International friends) made of expelled gas is planetary nebula Kronberger 61. The light seen from this nebula is primarily due to ionized oxygen emission which reveals the spectacular blue icosahedron shape. The central star can be seen as the slightly bluer star very close to the center of the nebula. Below the bright star at left is a barred spiral galaxy in the distant background, along with several additional distant galaxies in the image.

(Image Credit: Gemini Observatory)

In honor of the World Cup starting today, and also hoping to ride a bit on their coattails, please consider the Soccer Ball Nebula.  First discovered in January 2011 by amateur astronomer Matthias Kronberger and now called Kronberger 61, the Soccer Ball Nebula lies in the constellation Cygnus, approximately 13,000 light years from Earth.  Kronberger alerted professional astronomers, and the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii zoomed in on the region to discover this stunning image, rendered in color-composite.  What makes the Soccer Ball Nebula interesting to astronomers is its uniquely round shape-few of the 3,000 nebulae discovered to date have this structure.  While scientists have not yet agreed on what gives nebula their shape, few can disagree with the resemblence here to a soccer ball.  Oh, and GO BRASIL!!!