Home
 Space Photos - SEARCH
 Frequently Asked Questions
 New
 Hubble - APOD Selections
 Earth from Space Photos
 Robert Gendler Photos
 Apollo Gemini Mercury Photos
 Top 50
 Space Shuttle - Space Station Photos
 Recent Requests
 Spitzer Photos
 More Hubble Photos
 Astronaut Crew Portraits
 Chandra Catalog
 Planet Photos
 Comets - Asteroids
 Other Astronomy Photos
 Sun Photos
 Links I Use
 Gift Certificates
 Videos
 
 Show Order
 Help
 Index
 



Click to enlargeHubble NGC 2346 Photo

Buy this NGC 2346 space photo.
High quality Hubble picture, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph H99-37. Wide variety of sizes.


NGC 2346 is a so-called "planetary nebula," which is ejected from Sun-like stars which are near the ends of their lives. NGC 2346 is remarkable because its central star is known to be actually a very close pair of stars, orbiting each other every 16 days.

It is believed that the binary star was originally more widely separated. However, when one component of the binary evolved, expanded in size, and became a red-giant star, it literally swallowed its companion star. The companion star then spiralled downwards inside the red giant, and in the process spewed out gas into a ring around the binary system.

Later on, when the hot core of the red giant was exposed, it developed a faster stellar wind, which emerged perpendicularly to the ring and inflated two huge "bubbles." This two-stage process is believed to have resulted in the butterfly-like shape of the nebula.

NGC 2346 lies about 2,000 light-years away from us, and is about one-third of a light-year in size.

The Hubble Heritage team made this image from observations of NGC 2346 acquired by Massimo Stiavelli (STScI), Inge Heyer (STScI), and collaborators.

October 7, 1999
Credit: NASA/The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).


H99-37
Select Size: 
Surface: 
Follow SpaceImages on Twitter
Want to receive email updates? Click here.
Questions or Comments? Click here to send e-mail.