The Hubble Space Telescope team has released a new image of the so-called Necklace Nebula, an intriguing object consisting of a pair of stars orbiting only several million miles away from each other, so close that they appear as a single bright dot at the center of the image.
Located about 15,000 light-years away from Earth, the nebula, officially called PN G054.203.4, was first discovered in 2005 by the Isaac Newton Telescope Photometric H-alpha Survey (IPHAS). The object has been imaged by Hubble multiple times previously. The new image is an amalgamation of several exposures from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and was created with the help advanced processing techniques.
Roughly 10,000 years ago, one of the stars exploded, its gaseous envelope expanding into space, enveloping its companion star. The smaller star continues to orbit inside this envelope, further contributing the expansion of the nebula. The bright diamond-like shapes around the nebula’s ring are made of dense clumps of gas that formed inside the cloud of escaping debris. — Tereza Pultarova