NGC 2346

Butterfly in the sky.....but why? It is thought that this intriguing shape was formed by two different processes. First of all there are two stars that play the "starring" role. This pair used to orbit one another at a casual distance, but then one of them evolved into a red giant star and enveloped the other one. This means the swallowed star orbited inside of the red giant! This process both caused the two to move close together and eject a ring of gas in the process. Then strong winds from the stars blew gas perpendicular to the ring to form the wings of the "butterfly." Currently these two stars are so close they orbit each other in a period of 16 days. NGC 2346 is between 2000-3000 light years away (and perhaps 1/2 light year in extent).

This image was taken as part of Advanced Observing Program (AOP) program at Kitt Peak Visitor Center during 2014.

Credit:

KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/Doug Matthews and Charles Betts/Adam Block

About the Image

Id:noao-n2346matthews
Type:Observation
Release date:June 19, 2014, 2:27 p.m.
Size:1336 x 921 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 2346
Constellation:Monoceros
Category:Nebulae

Image Formats

Large JPEG
221.1 KB
Screensize JPEG
145.2 KB

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1024x768
169.6 KB
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223.9 KB
1600x1200
291.0 KB
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Coordinates

Position (RA):7 9 28.32
Position (Dec):0° 51' 38.43"
Field of view:11.40 x 7.88 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 89.7° right of vertical


Colors & filters

BandWave-lengthTele-scope
Optical
B
438 nmVisitor Center 0.5-meter Telescope
Other CCD
Optical
G
475 nmVisitor Center 0.5-meter Telescope
Other CCD
Optical
R
625 nmVisitor Center 0.5-meter Telescope
Other CCD
Optical
Broad Band
555 nmVisitor Center 0.5-meter Telescope
Other CCD