Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Frosty Leo Nebula

The Frosty Leo Nebula (also known as IRAS 09371+1212) is a proto-planetary nebula, located at a distance of around 10,000 light years in the constellation of Leo.

This is a bipolar nebula that is powered by a K7II-type star. Frosty Leo is the second known protoplanetary nebula (the other is CRL 2688), and the only oxygen-rich, that consists of two focused jets. Additionally, there are two bright compact structures that are embedded inside two large tenuous bubbles, which are separated by a flaring edge-on disk.

The high surface brightness of the two loop-like structures (and their substructures) in the jets of the nebula indicate that the latter have sculpted the optical thick central region of the nebula, thus light can escape from there.

Image: Composite optical image of the Frosty Leo Nebula, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The image was created using broadband filters that are centred at 606 nm (V-band blue), 814 nm (I-band, red), and a combination of the V+I bands (green).  

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

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