NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Captures Image of Glowing Green Ring Nebula

Posted on June 20, 2011

Glowing Emerald Nebula


This photograph of a glowing emerald nebula was taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. It is not Oa, the planet where the Guardians of the Universe reside in the Green Lantern universe.

The JPL says the green rings like the one seen around this planet are sculpted by the powerful light of giant O stars, the most massive type of star.

JPL says, "The ring of dust is actually glowing in infrared colors that our eyes cannot see, but show up brightly when viewed by Spitzer's infrared detectors. At the center of this ring are a couple of giant stars whose intense ultraviolet light has carved out the bubble, though they blend in with other stars when viewed in infrared."

The green color in the ring represents infrared light coming from tiny dust grains called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The red color inside the ring shows slightly larger dust grains which are hotter because they are being heated by the massive stars.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GLIMPSE-MIPSGAL