Infrared Universe: Helix Nebula
Release Date: November 12, 2018 10:00AM (EST)
Media Use: Copyright
About This Video
Stars like our Sun end their lives by casting off their outer layers, briefly forming a spectacular "planetary nebula" like the Helix Nebula. In visible light, we see the glow of hot gases illuminated by a hot, compact core, known as a "white dwarf." Shifting into the near-infrared reveals the glow of more complex molecules formed in the outer shell. The mid-infrared glow highlights the warm (bright red) dust surrounding the white dwarf.
Optical: Hot gas ejected from a dying star glows.
Near-Infrared: Near-infrared light reveals cooler material.
Mid-far-Infrared: Warm dust is identified in mid-infrared light.
Infrared-Ultraviolet: The ultraviolet light traces the hot gas being expelled from the dying star.
ABOUT THE INFRARED UNIVERSE COLLECTION
The human eye can only see visible light, but objects give off a variety of wavelengths of light. To see an object as it truly exists, we would ideally look at its appearance through the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Telescopes show us objects as they appear emitting different energies of light, with each wavelength conveying unique information about the object. The Webb Space Telescope will study infrared light from celestial objects with much greater clarity and sensitivity than ever before. Explore the Infrared Universe.
Adapted from Cool Cosmos by IPAC, with additional contributions from Bruno Merin and Miguel Merin (Pludo).