Hubble Space Telescope Spots ‘Cosmic Calabash

In the article, “Hubble Space Telescope Spots ‘Cosmic Calabash,’” the author explains how astronomers get a new image in the Hubble telescope. It is a star in a unique stage . The author states ,”Hubble shows a once-normal star going through a rapid transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula, during which it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space.” The author states multiple times how rare this is to actually catch a image of a star in this stage. Next, they nickname this star “the Rotten Egg” and the reason for this name is because of the large amount of sulfur compounds. Lastly, the author talks about how this is located far from us exactly ”  5,000 light-years away , located in the constellation of Puppis.”

Objective number 14 was being able to describe how stars evolve and die.This article relates to the objective because it discusses a star that was captured transitioning from a red giant into a planetary nebula. We know that this star must have been a low-mass star because only low-mass stars produce planetary nebulas. The textbook states that a low-mass star spends most of its life generating energy by fusing hydrogen in its core. When core hydrogen is exhausted, the core begins to shrink while the star as a whole expands to become a red giant, with hydrogen shell fusion around an inert helium core. When the core becomes hot enough, a helium flash initiates helium fusion in the core, which fuses helium into carbon. The core shrinks again when helium core fusion ceases, while both helium and hydrogen fusion occur in shells around the inert carbon core and cause the outer layers to expand once more. A low-mass star like the Sun never gets hot enough to fuse carbon in its core, because degeneracy pressure stops the gravitational collapse of the core. The lecture tutorial, “Stellar Evolution,” states that a low-mass star, less than about eight times the mass of our Sun, eventually ejects its outer layers to produce a planetary nebula just like what is happening in this article. The stellar core remaining in the middle of this planetary nebula is called a white dwarf.

I really enjoyed reading this article because it was not to long and it got to the point. It was also very informative about this star and all of the information about it. Also, i found it cool to be reading about such a rare image astronomers found. I never thought we were capable of seeing a star in this stage.I had always thought that every star took the same course, but I now know that stars can take different courses based on many different elements. I thought that this article related well to the objective and it gave a good brief explanation about what a planetary nebula is and why it is so rare for astronomers.


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