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.

October 15, 1997
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Cold Wind From The Boomerang Nebula
Credit: R. Sahai (JPL), L. Nyman (ESO)

Explanation: A cold wind blows from the central star of the Boomerang Nebula. Seen here in a false color image of dust reflected starlight, the nebula lies about 5,000 light-years away. The boomerang shaped cloud appears to have been created by a high-speed wind of gas and dust blowing from an aging central star at speeds of over 300,000 miles per hour. This rapid expansion has cooled the nebular gas to about -458 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree above absolute zero, making it the coldest region observed in the distant Universe. The frigid Boomerang nebula represents a unique object for astronomers and is believed to be a star or stellar system evolving toward the planetary nebula phase.

Tomorrow's picture: Cassini To Venus

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.