Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

November 9, 1998
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WR124: Stellar Fireball
Credit: Y. Grosdidier (U. Montreal) et al., WFPC2, HST, NASA

Explanation: Some stars explode in slow motion. Rare, massive Wolf-Rayet stars are so tumultuous and hot they are disintegrating right before our telescopes. Glowing gas globs each over 30 times more massive than the Earth are being expelled by a violent stellar wind. Wolf-Rayet star WR124, visible near the image center, is thus creating the surrounding nebula known as M1-67. Why this star has been slowly blowing itself apart over the past 10,000 years remains unclear. WR124 is 15,000 light-years away towards the constellation of Sagitta.

Tomorrow's picture: The Eight-Burst Nebula

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