Tag: AFGL 3068

Awesome death spiral of a bizarre star

By Phil Plait | September 6, 2010 10:44 am

I sometimes think I’ve seen everything there is in the sky, with nothing new left to see.

Then I get a rude — but welcome — wake-up call.

Check.
This.
Out.

hst_llpeg

[Click to enspiralnate.]

When I first saw this picture, my reactions, in order, were:

1) What the frak is that?

followed immediately by

2) This must be a fake!

But it’s not fake. It’s real, and it’s the dying gasp of a very, very strange star system.

The name of this thing is AFGL 3068. It’s been known as a bright infrared source for some time, but images just showed it as a dot. This Hubble image using the Advanced Camera for Surveys reveals an intricate, delicate and exceedingly faint spiral pattern. It’s so faint no one has ever detected it before!

So what’s going on here? First off, this is not a spiral galaxy! Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures
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