Astronomers capture 'space butterfly' from thousands of light years away

WION Web Team London, London, UK (Great Britain) Aug 02, 2020, 01.12 PM(IST)

Planetary nebula NGC 2899 Photograph:( Others )

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The space phenomenon, named for its resemblance to a butterfly, is actually a planetary nebula -- a giant cloud of gas that forms around an ancient star that hasn't yet exploded. 

Astronomers have discovered a "space butterfly" coloured with brilliant blues and clouds of purple and red thousands of light years away.

The space phenomenon, named for its resemblance to a butterfly, is actually a planetary nebula -- a giant cloud of gas that forms around an ancient star that hasn't yet exploded. 

The European Space Observatory's (ESO) aptly named Very Large Telescope, recently captured a vibrant image of the interstellar object.

It's known as NGC 2899 (NGC stands for New General Catalogue, which lists nebulae and other astral bodies like this one). It's located somewhere between 3,000 and 6,500 light years away from Earth in the constellation Vela, which is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

This planetary nebula isn't long for this universe. Ultraviolet radiation lights up the shells of gas surrounding the star and causes them to shine quite brightly.

The Very Large Telescope that captured the image is the "world's most advanced optical instrument," according to the ESO.