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Daniel Stern

Location of Photo:

Rio Hurtado, Chile

Date/Time of photo:

Various between 5/11 and 5/26/2023




NG 6164 gets in name, in part, from its close proximity to the nebula The Fighting Dragons of Ara, NGC 6188. The Dragons Egg is a bipolar emission nebula. The term bipolar refers to the symmetry of the central “egg”. An emission nebula is a cloud of high temperature gas. Within this type of nebula, a star energizes the atoms in the cloud with ultraviolet radiation. The process is similar to that of a neon light. This causes the nebula to glow. The filamentary outer halo was probably caused by an earlier gas burst of the central star about 4000 years ago (an astronomical blink of an eye). The central star is a very rare O-type star, one that is very large and hot and has a mass between 15 and 90 times that of our Sun. In this case the star is about 40 times as large as the Sun. O-type stars, being so large, have short lives because they burn through their supply of hydrogen quickly. This star is about 3 – 4 million years old and will end its life in about 4 million years in a violent supernova explosion.