In another stunning image that proves space is enormous, timeless, and stunningly beautiful, the Hubble space telescope has revealed to the world the image of a star surrounded by a blue bubble.
What Hubble has discovered is a fleeting image of massive and powerful star whose life in space will be spectacular and short-lived and end with a supernova, the Washington Post reported.
The “blue bubble” star is called a Wolf-Rayet star, and it’s been given the not-so-catchy name of WR 31a and is located 30,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, Fox News added.
The blue bubble is being emitted by WR 31a itself, and was formed about 20,000 years ago. It’s also continuing to grow, at an astonishing rate of almost 140,000 miles an hour.
The Wolf-Rayet began its life, eons ago, with unimaginable stores of energy. They are about 20 times bigger than our sun, about five to 30 times hotter, and a million times dimmer, Tech Times added. Just imagine the sunburn.
Because they are burn so hot, so big, and so bright, they die fast, and can lose up to 50 times their mass in about 100,000 years. In total, it can only hope to live for about a few thousand. That’s very quick in cosmic terms.
For further comparison, our sun has been burning for millions of years and going strong, and it’s only in middle age.
These stars are called Wolf-Rayet when they reach a certain stage in their lifespan. At this point, they start to fuse heavy elements that are stored inside their core. This, in turn, creates lots of heat and radiation, and the outer layers of the star start to simply blow away. Eventually, it’ll reach the elements that are far too heavy for fusion.
The “blue bubble” captured by Hubble is the physical result of this process, as it “shirks” these gases. The European Space Agency specified that the “blue bubble” is a nebula.
“The distinctive blue bubble appearing to encircle WR 31a is a Wolf–Rayet nebula — an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases. Created when speedy stellar winds interact with the outer layers of hydrogen ejected by Wolf–Rayet stars, these nebulae are frequently ring-shaped or spherical.”
Tech Times noted that Hubble’s image of the bubble is probably the most detailed the telescope has ever snapped and shared with mankind, though it’s known for capturing some truly astonishing sights — including the birth and death of stars and the first forecasted supernova explosion.
Last year, astronomers used the Hubble to find a baby blue galaxy that is the furthest galaxy ever seen by human eyes. Named -zs8-1, it’s 13.1 billion light-years away.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Hubble also found the beautiful Trumpler 14 cluster, home to an estimated 2,000 individual stars of varying sizes, some of which are among the brightest in the entire galaxy. Hubble also captured the sight of two galaxies merging in the constellation Hercules about 230 million light years away; the process is extremely slow and will eventually result in a single galaxy very different from its parents.
[Photo by Hubble/Facebook]