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HomeNewsAstronomy and SpaceCat's Eye Nebula seen in 3D

Cat’s Eye Nebula seen in 3D


A side-by-side comparability of the three-dimensional mannequin of the Cat’s Eye Nebula created by Clairmont and the Cat’s Eye Nebula as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: Ryan Clairmont (left), NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) (proper)

Researchers have created the primary computer-generated three-dimensional mannequin of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, revealing a pair of symmetric rings encircling the nebula’s outer shell. The rings’ symmetry suggests they had been fashioned by a precessing jet, offering robust proof for a binary star on the heart of the nebula. The examine was led by Ryan Clairmont, who not too long ago accomplished secondary college within the United States, and is revealed in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


A planetary varieties when a dying solar-mass star ejects its outer layer of gasoline, creating a colourful, shell-like construction distinctive to those objects. The Cat’s Eye Nebula, also referred to as NGC 6543, is without doubt one of the most complicated planetary nebulae recognized. It is simply over 3,000 light-years away from Earth, and might be seen within the constellation Draco. The Cat’s Eye Nebula has additionally been imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope in excessive decision, revealing an intricate construction of knots, spherical shells, and arc-like filaments.

The nebula’s mysterious construction confounded astrophysicists as a result of it couldn’t be defined by beforehand accepted theories for planetary nebula formation. More latest analysis confirmed that precessing jets had been potential shaping mechanisms in complicated planetary nebulae comparable to NGC 6543, however lacked an in depth mannequin.

Ryan Clairmont, an astronomy fanatic, determined to attempt to set up the detailed 3D construction of the Cat’s Eye to search out out extra in regards to the potential mechanism that gave it its intricate form. To do that, he sought out the assistance of Dr. Wolfgang Steffen of The National Autonomous University of Mexico and Nico Koning from the University of Calgary, who developed SHAPE, 3D astrophysical modeling software program significantly appropriate for planetary nebulae.

To reconstruct the nebula’s three-dimensional construction, the researchers used from the San Pedro Martir National Observatory in Mexico. These present detailed data on the interior movement of fabric within the nebula. Together with these information and pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, Clairmont constructed a novel 3D mannequin, establishing that rings of high-density gasoline had been wrapped across the outer shell of the Cat’s Eye. Surprisingly, the rings are virtually completely symmetric to one another, suggesting they had been fashioned by a jet—a stream of high-density gasoline ejected in from the nebula’s central star.

The jet exhibited precession, much like the wobbling movement of a spinning prime. As the jet wobbled, or precessed, it outlined a circle, creating the rings across the Cat’s Eye. However, the info signifies the rings are solely partial, which means the precessing jet by no means accomplished a full 360-degree rotation, and that the emergence of the jets was solely a short-lived phenomenon. The length of outflows is a vital piece of data for the idea of planetary nebulae. Since solely binary stars can energy a precessing jet in a planetary nebula, the staff’s findings are robust proof {that a} system of this sort exists on the heart of the Cat’s Eye.

As the angle and path of the jet modified over time, it seemingly fashioned the entire options seen within the Cat’s Eye, together with the jets and knots. Using the three-dimensional mannequin, the researchers had been capable of calculate the lean and opening angle of the precessing jet primarily based on the orientation of the rings.

Ryan Clairmont, the lead creator of the paper and now a potential undergraduate at Stanford University, says “When I first saw the Cat’s Eye Nebula, I was astounded by its beautiful, perfectly symmetric structure. I was even more surprised that its 3D structure was not fully understood.”

He provides, “It was very rewarding to be able to do astrophysical research of my own that actually has an impact in the field. Precessing jets in planetary nebulae are relatively rare, so it’s important to understand how they contribute to the shaping of more complex systems like the Cat’s Eye. Ultimately, understanding how they form provides insight into the eventual fate of our Sun, which will itself one day become a planetary nebula.”


Image: Hubble spies eye in the sky


More data:
Ryan Clairmont et al, Morphokinematic modelling of the point-symmetric Cat’s Eye, NGC 6543: Ring-like remnants of a precessing jet, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2022). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stac2375

Citation:
Cat’s Eye Nebula seen in 3D (2022, September 21)
retrieved 21 September 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-cat-eye-nebula-3d.html

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