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Daniel Stern

Location of Photo:

Rio Hurtado, Chile

Date/Time of photo:

Various 6/5 - 6/11/23




This is Abell 35 which, up until recently, was thought to be a planetary nebula. A planetary nebula is an emission nebula formed when a dying star sheds its outer layers. Abell 35 has some unusual properties that called into question its planetary nebula classification. In the center of the image there is a teal-colored parabolic bow-shock wave structure with a bright star at its tip. Scientists determined that that star was of a type that was not hot enough to ionize the nebula (that’s what would make it a planetary nebula). It was eventually determined that Abell 35 was formed from a binary pair of stars and that the wind from those stars formed the bow-shock feature. Abell 35 is moving through space at 10 times the speed of sound giving rise to a shock wave that created the linear structures shown in the image.