XMM and Hubble view of NGC 3242
Credit: X-ray: You-Hua Chu and Robert A. Gruendl (University of Illinois), Martín A. Guerrero and Nieves Ruiz (IAA-CSIC) and ESA; optical: A. Hajian (U.S. Naval Observatory) and B. Balick (University of Washington)

Great Jupiter's Ghost

Above is a composite image of NGC 3242, sometimes called the "Ghost of Jupiter Nebula". The "Ghost of Jupiter" is a planetary nebula which is the death shroud of an old sun-like star. This phantasmagorical picture combines an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope with an X-ray image from the XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory. The Hubble image shows the outer, ionized shell of gas, while the X-ray image highlights the extremely hot gas (in blue) which fills the interior of the shell. This hot gas is produced as a fast wind from the dead stellar core plows into the expelled former atmosphere of the star in a final death scream. This Halloween, we'll learn of the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope, as NASA decides if it's worth it to the risk a space shuttle mission to service Hubble. Trick or treat?

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:24:07 EDT