NASA Shows Off a Supernova Remnant Called The 'Jellyfish Nebula'

Saturday, 24 March 2018 - 12:55PM
Space
Astronomy
NASA
Saturday, 24 March 2018 - 12:55PM
NASA Shows Off a Supernova Remnant Called The 'Jellyfish Nebula'
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Lots of cosmic objects are given interesting nicknames, from the Cartwheel galaxy to the "Penguin and Egg" galaxy. So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that there's a Jellyfish Nebula.

It's more officially known as IC 443, but as you can see in a new Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA, it does have some vaguely hydrozoan qualities that make it look similar to a jellyfish. You can see it below:




What's more interesting about cosmic jellyfish is how it was formed, via a giant supernova explosion that happened a long time ago, as the explosion's light first reached Earth about 30,000 years ago.

Details on that are slim, but few other phenomena in space are powerful enough to leave that big of a mess - the Jellyfish Nebula is around 300 lightyears across, whereas the largest jellyfish in our oceans is only 121.4 feet (37 meters) long.

It may look look a dullish red in the above photo, but it gains a little more color when viewed in a wide-field optical lens:




It's also worth noting that there are a few space oddities hidden inside the jellyfish as well. Beyond the two bright stars Mu and Eta Geminorum on both sides of the nebula, a highly magnetized neutron star has been detected inside the gaseous debris as well, which means there's an extremely powerful pulsar in these photos.

In a weird way, this gives it something in common with another nautical-themed nebula, the Crab Nebula, which also a neutron star of its own. Must be something about cosmic objects named after marine life.

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