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NGC 6302 – a Hubble Telescope “NHO” mapped color image

NGC 6302 is a spectacular planetary nebula located in the constellation of Scorpius.  Also known as the Butterfly Nebula, this object was formed by a dying star which over time has ejected its outer layers into the surrounding space.  The central star is hidden by the dense dust ring at the nebula’s center but its intense radiation is the source of illumination of the nebula.  NGC 6302 is approximately 3,800 light years distant and the nebula is about 2 light years in width.  NGC 6302 is a very young object.  Astronomers estimate that the first star layer ejections occurred  about 5,000 years ago.    More information on this very interesting object can be found at this Hubblesite page.  You can also see a version of NGC 6302 that was processed by the professionals at NASA at the link.

The data for this image was downloaded from the publicly available image data sets at the Hubble legacy Archive.  This image was assembled from data acquired from the Hubble Telescope in 2004.  I used the data from the NII, Hydrogen alpha, and OIII filters mapped to red, green and blue respectively.  The image was assembled in PixInsight and then exported to Photoshop for final processing.

A 3,000 x 2130 pixel version can be seen on my Astrobin pages here.  Or, you can click on the image below to view a 1600 x 1136 pixel version.

NGC 6302
Posted in Bright Nebula, Hubble Telescope Image

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