The Inky Abyss

Although it looks more like an entity seen through a microscope than a telescope, this rounded object, named NGC 2022, is certainly no alga or tiny, blobby jellyfish. Instead, it is a vast orb of gas in space, cast off by an ageing star. The star is visible in the orb's centre, shining through the gases it formerly held onto for most of its stellar life. 

When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red. These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space. More than half of such a star's mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas. At the same time, the star's core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow. 

This type of object is called, somewhat confusingly, a planetary nebula, though it has nothing to do with planets. The name derives from the rounded, planet-like appearance of these objects in early telescopes.

NGC 2022 is located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Wade

About the Image

Id:potw1932a
Type:Observation
Release date:12 August 2019, 06:00
Size:1018 x 1037 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 2022
Type:Local Universe : Nebula : Type : Planetary
Constellation:Orion
Category:Nebulae

Image Formats

Large JPEG
335.2 KB
Screensize JPEG
196.2 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
223.1 KB
1280x1024
353.4 KB
1600x1200
498.0 KB
1920x1200
569.8 KB
2048x1536
761.5 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):5 42 6.26
Position (Dec):9° 5' 11.13"
Field of view:0.85 x 0.86 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 103.8° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

Also see our


Accelerated by CDN77