20-year-old Hubble photos show how the nebula is fading in the sting

For half a century, astronomers have observed the formation of the nebula, the youngest planet in the Stingra nebula, and now they have noticed something strange: it is becoming extinct.

“It’s very, very dramatic and very strange,” said Martin A. Guerrero of the Instituto de Astrophysica de Andalusia in Granada, Spain, co-author of a new study of Steinen’s nebula. “What we’re seeing is the evolution of nebulae in real time. Every few years we see a variety of nebulae. We have never seen such clarity with this scene before.

Between 1996 and 2001, the Stingray nebula’s continuous Hubble images revealed that it was weakening, fading, and becoming less prominent. It is the shadow of his former soul, and grows weaker day by day. For example, the brightness due to the presence of ionized oxygen has been reduced by one thousand unprecedented factors in twenty years in observation.

What’s going on?

Stingray Nebula 1996 (left) and 2016 (right). Image Credit: NASA, ESA, b. Balik (University of Washington), m. Guerrero (Instituto de Astrophesica de Andalusia), and g. Ramos-Larios (University of Guadalajara)

Astronomer Carl Gordon Hennais first classified Nebula’s central star, known as SAO 244567, in Stingray in 196767 as a bright blue giant. Only four years later, astronomers realized that the late-stage star was surrounded by an unconscious nebula, which they quickly identified as the beginning of a planetary nebula. The official name of the stingray chicken is 3-1357 and as it approaches one end of life it begins to expel a type of nebula and its outer layers formed by the star into the surrounding system.

In early 1971, SAO 244567 began touching the sky with temperatures climbing from 40,000 to 108,000 degrees Fahrenheit during the millennium. And then it has been reversed, cooling down and the process fading.

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As the intensity from the central star decreases, so does the amount of radioactivity that hit the nebula. As the lights in your room dim to make it more moody, the nebula in the sting slowly shuts off.

Astronomers suspect that a sudden spike in temperature caused by a helium flash is a serious condition inside a giant star where a small amount of paint-up energy is emitted and a small amount of uninterrupted helium shell fuses. However, as they get older, changes in the bottom may take years to be felt.

But now that the star is returning to normal, Stingray’s energy is waning. Perhaps this has always been the case throughout the universe, but this time astronomers were lucky enough to catch this process effectively.

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