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Hubble’s Cosmic Holiday Wreath – SpaceRef

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This festive NASA Hubble House Telescope picture resembles a vacation wreath fabricated from glowing lights.

The brilliant southern hemisphere star RS Puppis, on the heart of the picture, is swaddled in a gossamer cocoon of reflective mud illuminated by the glittering star. The tremendous star is ten instances extra huge than the Solar and 200 instances bigger.

RS Puppis rhythmically brightens and dims over a six-week cycle. It is likely one of the most luminous within the class of so-called Cepheid variable stars. Its common intrinsic brightness is 15,000 instances higher than the Solar’s luminosity.

The nebula glints in brightness as pulses of sunshine from the Cepheid propagate outwards. Hubble took a sequence of photographs of sunshine flashes rippling throughout the nebula in a phenomenon generally known as a “gentle echo.” Although gentle travels by way of house quick sufficient to span the hole between Earth and the Moon in a little bit over a second, the nebula is so giant that mirrored gentle can really be photographed traversing the nebula.

By observing the fluctuation of sunshine in RS Puppis itself, in addition to recording the faint reflections of sunshine pulses shifting throughout the nebula, astronomers are capable of measure these gentle echoes and pin down a really correct distance. The space to RS Puppis has been narrowed down to six,500 light-years (with a margin of error of just one %).

Picture credit score: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Workforce (STScI/AURA) – Hubble/Europe Collaboration; Acknowledgement: H. Bond (STScI and Pennsylvania State College) Larger image

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