The European Southern Observatory publishes the image of a space spider web 800 light years from our planet
About 11,000 years ago, in a place not far from our planet (at least as far as the universe is concerned), a giant star reached the end of its life. The star, after millions of years illuminating the southern constellation of sails, exploded in a supernova. The burst concluded a huge shock wave that, in turn, disturbed the intermittent gas and formed a colorful space web. The image of this ‘ghost star’ It has been captured by a team of scientists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile and is published this Monday, on the eve of Halloween night, as one more example of how stars form, evolve and finally die.
But how exactly do you capture the image of a ghost star? Pay attention to the process because it is as (or more) interesting than the photography itself. The star that stars in this story is located about 800 light years from our planet. To capture its brightness, one of the most sophisticated scientific instruments on the planet has been used: the OmegaCAM of the VLT Survey Telescope. This device, about eight feet long, is capable of capturing 256 million pixelsabout 16 times more than the Hubble Space Telescope.
This powerful camera is capable of capture different wavelengthsfrom ultraviolet to infrared. According to the scientific team that has capture the ‘stellar ghost’that picture is actually combination of four different portraits: one magenta, one blue, one green and one red. The combination of all of them is what allows us to reconstruct the silhouette of this fascinating stellar corner.
The image, at its full resolution, adds up to a whopping 554 million pixels.
The photograph of the ghost star, in its full resolution, adds a whopping amount of 554 million pixels. To give you an idea of what that means, remember that the vast majority of the images we see on our mobile devices are, at best, 1200 pixels wide. «Nine moons fit in this image«, summary of the researchers who have led this work.
If beyond the image you wonder about the fate of the star that stars in this news, here is one last note. «What remains of the star is a ultra dense ball in which protons and electrons unite into neutrons: that is, a neutron star«, the experts explain. The ghost of this celestial body, which can be seen in the upper left part of the image, is now a pulsar that rotates on its own axis at a speed of more than 10 times per second.
«The wispy pink and orange cloud structure is all that remains of a massive star that ended its life in a powerful explosion some 11,000 years ago», explain the astronomers to accompany the presentation of this phantasmagorical space image located in our own galaxy, a ‘stone’s throw’ from a planet mother.