A Valentine Rose
12 February 2013
This image of a planetary nebula, which may suggest a rose to some, was obtained with the wide-field view of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) Mosaic 1 camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Sh2-174 is an unusual ancient planetary nebula. A planetary nebula is created when a low-mass star blows off its outer layers at the end of its life. The core of the star remains and is called a white dwarf. Usually the white dwarf can be found very near the center of the planetary nebula. But in the case of Sh2-174 it is off to the right. (It is the very blue star near the center of the blue gas). This asymmetry is due to the planetary nebula’s interaction with the interstellar medium that surrounds it.
The image was generated by Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) from observations taken through four different filters which are assigned colors that approximate what the human eye can see: B (blue), I (orange), Hydrogen-alpha (red) and Oxygen [OIII] (blue) filters. In this image, North is up, East is to the left.
Dr. Travis Rector
Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Dr. Anchorage, AK 99508