The Hubble telescope has captured the spectacular cosmic pairing of a star and a nebula 15 000 light years away.
The star Hen 2-427 – more commonly known as WR 124 – is pictured with the nebula M1-67 which surrounds it. Both objects, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, are found in the constellation of Sagittarius.
The star Hen 2-427 shines brightly at the very centre of this explosive image and around the hot clumps of surrounding gas that are being ejected into space at more than 150 000 km per hour.
Hen 2-427 is a Wolf-Rayet star, named after the astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. Wolf-Rayet are super-hot stars characterised by a fierce ejection of mass.
The nebula M1-67 is estimated to be no more than 10 000 years old — just a baby in astronomical terms.
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency