NGC 2392

Spitzer_sig12-006b_1024

spitzer_sig12-006b July 2nd, 2012

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This ball of glowing gas is known as NGC 2392. It is found in the constellation Gemini and is about 3,000 light years away. The pioneering astronomer William Herschel first discovered it in 1787 using an early telescope that revealed very little of the structure we see in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

When stars like our sun reach the end of their nuclear fuel burning lifetimes they make one final grab for glory. The outer layers of these stars, which have swollen to something approaching the size of Earth's orbit, get blown into space forming what has been dubbed a "planetary nebula." The expelled gas from the star glows brightly, illuminated by the ultraviolet light from the surviving stellar core, known as a "white dwarf."

Astronomers think it is common for stars to lose their material in winds that preferentially blow out along their axes of rotation, effectively carving out a cylindrical, sometimes rod-shaped, cavity. When these structures are viewed end-on, as with NGC 2392, they take on the appearance of a strangely-structured ball.

The somewhat misleading term "planetary nebula" actually comes from Herschel himself. After observing a number of round, ball-like objects (including NGC 2392), he thought their appearance was roughly similar to the newly-discovered planet Uranus. Because of that similarity, he applied the description of "planetary" to these nebulae.

The term planetary nebula has stuck, even though we now know these stellar remnants have little to do with planets. The only connection is that some of the elements recirculated back into interstellar space may one day end up forming new stars and planetary systems.

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/5192-sig12-006b-NGC-2392

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
NGC 2392
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Planetary

Distance

Universescale1
2,800 light years
Spitzer_sig12-006b_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 7h 29m 10.7s
DEC = 20° 54’ 42.7”
Orientation
North is 79.2° CCW
Field of View
4.0 x 4.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Gemini

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 3.6 µm
Green Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 4.5 µm
Red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Spitzer_sig12-006b_1280
×
ID
sig12-006b
Subject Category
B.4.1.3.  
Subject Name
NGC 2392
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2012-07-02
Lightyears
2,800
Redshift
2,800
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/5192-sig12-006b-NGC-2392
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
IRAC, IRAC, IRAC
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3600, 4500, 8000
Start Time
2006-11-29T20:39, 2006-11-29T20:39, 2006-11-29T20:39
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
112.2947025, 20.9118740
Reference Dimension
1600.0, 1600.0
Reference Pixel
801.0, 801.0
Scale
-4.16592e-05, 4.1659179e-05
Rotation
79.20
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig12-006b.tif
Metadata Date
2020-07-23
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
2,800 light years