Cosmic Bubble NGC 6781

Stars such as our Sun do not contain enough mass to finish their lives in the glorious explosions known as supernovae. However, they are still able to salute their imminent demise into dense, Earth-sized embers called white dwarfs by first expelling colourful shells of gas known as planetary nebulae. This misnomer comes from the similarity in appearance of these spherical mass expulsions to giant planets when seen through small telescopes.

NGC 6781 is a nice representative of these cosmic bubbles. The planetary nebula lies a few thousand light-years away towards the constellation of Aquila (the Eagle) and is approximately two light-years across. Within NGC 6781, shells of gas blown off from the faint, but very hot, central star’s surface expand out into space. These shells shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the progenitor star in intricate and beautiful patterns. The central star will steadily cool down and darken, eventually disappearing from view into cosmic oblivion.

This image was captured with the ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (EFOSC2) through three wide band filters (B, V, R) and two narrow-band ones (H-alpha, OIII). EFOSC2 is attached to the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. EFOSC2 has a field of view of 4.1 x 4.1 arcminutes.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:ngc6781-potw
Type:Observation
Release date:3 December 2009, 23:21
Size:1766 x 1766 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 6781
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
• X - Nebulae
Constellation:Aquila

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
260.0 KB

Wallpapers

1024x768
283.9 KB
1280x1024
511.3 KB
1600x1200
834.9 KB
1920x1200
1.0 MB
2048x1536
1.4 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):19 18 28.15
Position (Dec):6° 32' 18.74"

Colours & filters

BandTelescope
Optical
B
ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
V
ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
Oiii
ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
R
ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2
Optical
H-alpha
ESO 3.6-metre telescope
EFOSC2

 

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