Through the Hourglass

Eso_potw1841a_1024

eso_potw1841a October 8th, 2018

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/S. P. S. Eyres

This object is possibly the oldest of its kind ever catalogued: the hourglass-shaped remnant named CK Vulpeculae. Originally thought to be a nova, classifying this unusually shaped object correctly has proven challenging over the years. A number of possible explanations for its origins have been considered and discarded. It is now thought to be the result of two stars colliding although there is still debate about what type of stars they were. CK Vulpeculae was first spotted on 20 June 1670 by French monk and astronomer Pre Dom Anthelme. When it first appeared it was easily visible with the naked eye; over the subsequent two years the flare varied in brightness and disappeared and reappeared twice, before finally vanishing from view for good. During the twentieth century, astronomers came to understand that most novae could be explained by the runaway explosive behaviour and interactions between two close stars in a binary system. The features seen around CK Vulpeculae didnt seem to fit this model particularly well,however, puzzling astronomers for many years. The central part of the remnant has now been studied in detail using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). This striking image shows the best view of the object to date, and traces the cosmic dust and emission within and around CK Vulpeculae to reveal its intricate structure. CK Vulpeculae harbours a warped dusty disc at its centre and gaseous jets which indicate some central system propelling material outwards. These new observations are the first to bring this system into focus, suggesting a solution to a 348 year-old mystery.

Provider: European Southern Observatory

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1841a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, None, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
CK Vulpeculae
Subject - Milky Way
Star > Type > Variable > Nova
Eso_potw1841a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 19h 47m 38.1s
DEC = 27° 18’ 45.5”
Orientation
North is 90.0° CCW
Field of View
0.3 x 0.2 arcminutes
Constellation
Vulpecula

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_orange Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Band 6) Millimeter (Continuum) 1.3 mm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_orange
Eso_potw1841a_1280
×
ID
potw1841a
Subject Category
B.3.2.1.5  
Subject Name
CK Vulpeculae
Credits
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/S. P. S. Eyres
Release Date
2018-10-08T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1841a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Instrument
Band 6
Color Assignment
Orange
Band
Millimeter
Bandpass
Continuum
Central Wavelength
1324534
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
296.908632279, 27.3126403446
Reference Dimension
2000.0, 1082.0
Reference Pixel
1000.0, 541.0
Scale
-2.77716933722e-06, 2.77716933722e-06
Rotation
90.019999999999882
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
None
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw1841a
Metadata Date
2019-01-13T18:21:01.550485
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.