skyeye
A Beautiful Boomerang Nebula

This symmetric cloud dubbed the Boomerang Nebula was created by a high-speed
wind of gas and dust blowing from an aging central star at speeds of nearly
600,000 kilometers per hour. The rapid expansion has cooled molecules in the
nebular gas to about one degree above absolute zero - colder than even the
cosmic background radiation - making it the coldest known region in the
distant Universe. Shining with light from the central star reflected by dust,
the frigid Boomerang Nebula is believed to be a star or stellar system evolving
toward the planetary nebula phase. This Hubble image was recorded using polarizing
filters (analogous to polariod sunglasses) and color coded by the angle associated
with the polarized light. The gorgeous result traces the small dust particles
responsible for polarizing and scattering the light. The Boomerang Nebula spans
about one light year and lies about 5,000 light years away toward the constellation
Centaurus.