A Disc in the Ant Nebula

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, astronomers have uncovered a disc in the heart of the Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape. The image on the right shows a previously taken image of the Ant Nebula, in the mid-infrared, with the VLT Imager and Spectrometer for the mid-InfraRed (VISIR). The image on the left shows a model of the dusty disc the astronomers uncovered with the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI), which combined the light from two 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescopes. The lower part of the image representing the southern lobe is brighter, for this lobe is closer to our line-of-sight. The major axis of the flat, nearly edge-on disc is perpendicular to the axis of the bipolar lobes of the nebula. The disc extends from about 9 times the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun (9 Astronomical Units or 9 AU) to more than 500 AU.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:eso0742a
Type:Observation
Release date:27 September 2007
Related releases:eso0742
Size:2141 x 1192 px

About the Object

Name:Ant Nebula
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
• X - Nebulae
Distance:8000 light years

Image Formats

Fullsize Original
436.5 KB
Large JPEG
179.1 KB
Screensize JPEG
64.9 KB

Wallpapers

1024x768
101.0 KB
1280x1024
135.9 KB
1600x1200
177.6 KB
1920x1200
184.0 KB
2048x1536
248.0 KB

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Mid-IR
12 μmVery Large Telescope
VISIR

Notes: VISIR data relates to the right image. The left image is a model of the inner disk which was observed using MIDI.

 

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