Dying, nearby dwarf star is 12 time hotter than our sun
[CLICK ON IMAGE FOR HIGH RESOLUTION, Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Univ. Arizona]
The gorgeous, gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star, planetary nebula Abell 36 lies a mere 800 light-years away in the constellation of Virgo.
Shrugging off its outer layers, the nebula’s central star is contracting and becoming hotter, evolving towards a final white dwarf phase. In fact, in Abell 36, the central star is estimated to have a surface temperature of over 73,000 K, compared to the Sun’s present 6,000 K temperature.
As a result, the intensely hot star is much brighter in ultraviolet light, compared to its visual appearance here. The invisible ultraviolet light ionizes hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the nebula and ultimately powers the beautiful visible light glow.
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