The Milky Way Project Talk

The Black Widow Nebula

  • gwolfchase by gwolfchase scientist

    This is called the "Black Widow Nebula" (due to the shape). It's actually two opposing bubbles that are being formed in opposite directions by powerful outflows from massive groups of forming stars. The infant stars can be seen as specks of "yellow" where the bubbles overlap. Very often planetary nebulae from old stars have similar kinds of shapes in high-resolution visible light images (such as those from the Hubble Space Telescope). In contrast, in our infrared view of the Milky Way, planetary nebulae typically show up as small "pink" bubbles. The "pink" color traces dust in the nebulae. -- Grace Wolf-Chase