Daily Telescope: A Wolf-Rayet star puts on a howling light show


The Crescent Nebula.
Enlarge / The Crescent Nebula.


Welcome to the Daily Telescope. There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’re going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

Good morning. It’s February 2, and today’s image concerns an emission nebula about 5,000 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation.

Discovered more than 230 years ago by William Herschel, astronomers believe the Crescent Nebula is formed by the combination of an energetic stellar wind from a Wolf-Rayet star at its core, colliding with slower-moving material ejected earlier in the star’s lifetime. Ultimately, this should all go supernova, which will be quite spectacular.

Will you or I be alive to see it? Probably not.

But in the meantime, we can enjoy the nebula for what it is. This photo was captured by Ars reader 1Zach1 with an Astro-Tech AT80ED Refractor telescope. It was the product of 11 hours of integration, or 228 exposures each lasting three minutes. It was taken in rural southwestern Washington.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Source: 1Zach1

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