The cosmic butterfly or nebula NGC 6302, its fate shows how the sun will end up

After all, stars don’t last forever and at some point you run out of fuel. As a result, they die and a similar scenario will apply to our “host”. But how do we know that? Even from notes of other things. One such nebula is NGC 6302.

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The star itself, or rather what’s left of it, is where the two “wings” of this cosmic butterfly come together. Their size, of course, is slightly more impressive than that of terrestrial insects. Suffice it to say that the wings are about 3 light years wide. Even compared to the solar system, it is many times larger.

The NGC 6302 nebula is about 3 light-years across

As for the aforementioned star, it is currently in the form of a white dwarf. The wing-like structures surrounding it are made up of the outer layers of gas that once made up this star. In the past, they were dropped into space when they ran out of fuel for the fusion reaction.

Compared to other nebulae, this one is quite original, because in most cases they have more rounded shapes. But here we are dealing with something completely different. By comparing images of these wings, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009 and 2020, astronomers have concluded that they are dealing with the phenomena that make up this structure. Among other things, scientists have discovered several jets, that is, ejections of material that are released at great speed.

These emissions occurred between 2,300 and 900 years ago and ejected material towards the edge of the nebula at up to 800 kilometers per second. By contrast, matter closer to the star was fired at about ten times slower speed. The result was the formation of complex, asymmetric structures on the nebula’s wings.

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NGC 6302’s unusual shape may be due to a situation in which one local star collided with another, forming a binary system. An alternate scenario is that there was no collision, but rather that the object “stolen” some of its companion gas, creating complex magnetic fields that formed the nebula’s distinctive wings.

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