What is a nebula? If you don’t already know the answer, consider reading our article, “20 Interesting Nebula Facts”. Now, assuming that you know what a nebula is or you have just acquired the knowledge, it is time to build up on the same and learn 20 interesting Boomerang Nebula facts. In this article, we will try to find out why this nebula is called by that name, where is it located, what makes this nebula so unique and so on… Ready? Let us start then!
Interesting Boomerang Nebula Facts: 1-5
1. It is the coolest object that scientists have found till date in our visible universe.
2. So just how cold is it? In case you didn’t know, there is something called absolute zero, which is clocked at -273°C. Boomerang Nebula has a temperature of -272°C – just 1 degree above the absolute zero.
3. This nebula is a planetary nebula and it sits in Centaurus constellation, which in turn sits at a distance of 5,000 light years from our very own earth.
Good to know:
What really is a planetary nebula? A planetary nebula is nothing but a chunk of expanding gas that is released after a star’s outer layers blow off when the star has no left-over fuel for burning. The star will usually sit at the center of the nebula and can be seen as a glowing object, which is the inner central part of the star. Not all stars will explode to form nebulae. Despite their name – Planetary Nebulae – they are not really related to planets. They get the name because they appear like large planets. Planetary nebulae are not long-lived. They will usually survive for several tens of thousands of years. That’s long you think? Well, talk of cosmic scales, that’s like a few seconds because a star can survive for billions of years.
4. As we said, the Boomerang Nebula is very, really very cold. But did you know, it is actually colder than the cooling leftovers, that were left behind by the Big Bang. Those leftovers are found everywhere in this universe and they have a temperature of -270°C.
5. ALMA telescope or Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope is the one that was used for measuring the temperature of this nebula.
Interesting Boomerang Nebula Facts: 6-10
6. The Boomerang Nebula glows and is visible but this glow is actually caused by the central white dwarf star’s light which gets reflected by the dust grains present in the nebula’s gas.
7. This simply means that the Boomerang Nebula is very young because, in older planetary nebulae, it is the ultraviolet rays emitted by the central white dwarf stars that make the gasses of the nebulae glow brightly. The white dwarf of the Boomerang Nebula is yet to reach that stage where it will emit ultraviolet radiations.
8. The Boomerang Nebula gets its name from the asymmetric shape that is visible using the optical telescopes based on the ground.
9. When this nebula was first spotted using ground telescopes, scientists or researchers actually found that the shape of the nebula actually looked a little distorted. However, Hubble Space Telescope swung its camera towards the nebula back in 2003 and discovered that the nebula looked more like an hourglass when viewed in visible wavelengths.
10. Hubble then viewed the nebula a number of times and so did several other telescopes. A new mystery emerged and then it was resolved. The fact is that planetary nebulae do have the shape of bow tie or hourglass in general but that happens only and only when gas from the central star is ejected at high speed.