NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was able to capture a rare, and stunning, cosmic phenomena that has been named the “cosmic butterfly.”
The Twin Jet Nebula is full of awe-inspiring colors and complexities, two shining lobes of material flowing away from a binary star system, mesmerizing all onlookers. The pair of lobes are two massive jets of gas streaming off from the star system, with the striking view caused by the gas that is moving at one million kilometers per hour.
The Twin Jet Nebula, officially called the PN M2-9, is named PN because the nebula is designated as a planetary nebula and M which refers to the person who discovered it: Rudolf Minkowski, according to the Hullabaloo Online.
The smaller of the two stars that make up the nebula ranges from 0.6 to 1.0 solar masses and is a small white dwarf, which is the final stage of a star of this size and the larger of the two stars ranges from 1.0 to 1.4 solar masses is right behind it and is the one responsible for the cosmic lights it gives off that was captured by the Hubble. To put the size in perspective, the sun is 1.0 solar masses.
In the image, the two jets are headed in opposite directions because the gravitational interactions between the two stars. The stars take about 100 years to circle each other, giving off a light show that is extremely rare and may not be seen again in our current generation.
The gravitational effects that allow the smaller dwarf star to pull gas from its larger companion is what produces the large disc of material around them both to extend way further out from the two.
Although this magnificent view of the stars is a once in a lifetime scene, the Hubble actually caught a glimpse of the Twin Jet Nebula in 1997.