Astrophotographer shows dead star

Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy has published a fascinating new image of a deep space object. This time he captured the IC 443 nebula, sometimes also called the Medusa Nebula.

The IC 443 nebula. Source: Andrew McCarthy

IC 443 is located at a distance of about 5 thousand light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Gemini. Its diameter is 70 light-years. In fact, the nebula is a huge burial shroud, marking the place of death of the star.

Previously, a massive star was located in the center of IC 443. Between 3 and 30 thousand years ago, the luminary collapsed, which was accompanied by a powerful outburst of energy, also known as a supernova outbreak. The resulting shock wave collided with gas clouds located in this region, giving rise to various bizarre structures that could be seen in the photo.

As for the star itself, it has not completely disappeared. The explosion compressed its nucleus to such a state that the protons and electrons in it merged into neutrons. As a result, an object was formed that, with a diameter of several tens of kilometers, has a mass comparable to the mass of our Sun. Such bodies are called neutron stars.

Earlier we published other spectacular photographs by Andrew McCarthy. Among them are images of the ISS transit, an epic portrait of the Sun and Mars rising over the Moon.

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