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Giant Bubble Nebula Captured by the Hubble Telescope



Earlier this year, to celebrate the 26th birthday of its Hubble Space Telescope, NASA shot and published this gorgeous photo of the Bubble Nebula, which has a balloon-like bubble that’s expanding in space from a super-hot, massive star that’s 45 times more massive than our Sun. The image shows the bubble with never-before-seen clarity.

NASA pointed the Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 at the bubble and captured it with a total exposure time of 3.5 hours with blue, green, and red filters. The separate images were then combined and edited to produce the image seen above.

Here’s a 3D visualization of the Bubble Nebula in space:

“The seething star forming this nebula is 45 times more massive than our sun,” NASA writes. “Gas on the star gets so hot that it escapes away into space as a ‘stellar wind’ moving at over 4 million miles per hour.”

“This outflow sweeps up the cold, interstellar gas in front of it, forming the outer edge of the bubble much like a snowplow piles up snow in front of it as it moves forward.”

The Bubble Nebula in the photo is 7 light years across (about 42 trillion miles) and is found about 7,100 light years from Earth. You can download an ultra-high-res 58 megapixel TIFF of this photo from HubbleSite.

Image credits: Photograph by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)