NGC 2346

NGC 2346 is a so-called "planetary nebula," which is ejected from Sun-like stars which are near the ends of their lives. NGC 2346 is remarkable because its central star is known to be actually a very close pair of stars, orbiting each other every 16 days. It is believed that the binary star was originally more widely separated. However, when one component of the binary evolved, expanded in size, and became a red-giant star, it literally swallowed its companion star. The companion star then spiralled downwards inside the red giant, and in the process spewed out gas into aring around the binary system. Later on, when the hot core of the red giant was exposed, it developed a faster stellar wind, which emerged perpendicularly to the ring and inflated two huge "bubbles". This two-stage process is believed to have resulted in the butterfly-like shape of the nebula. NGC 2346 lies about 2,000 light-years away from us, and is about one-third of a light-year in size.

Credit:

NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo9935d
Type:Observation
Release date:7 October 1999, 18:00
Size:1344 x 1344 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 2346, V651 Mon
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
• X - Nebulae Images/Videos
Distance:2300 light years
Constellation:Monoceros

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
Sii
673 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
H-alpha
656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
R
675 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

Image Formats

Large JPEG
394.3 KB
Screensize JPEG
171.1 KB

Wallpapers

1024x768
199.1 KB
1280x1024
322.7 KB
1600x1200
446.5 KB
2048x1536
607.0 KB

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