The ghost-shaped Boomerang nebula, as captured by a telescope from the ALMA observatory in Chile. Photo by: NRAO/AUI/NSF/NASA/STScI/JPL-Caltech

Ghostly Boomerang Nebula

by Noelle Knell / October 29, 2013

Captured by telescope from an international astronomical observatory in Chile, the Boomerang nebula is the coldest place on earth, at 1 degree Kelvin -- the equivalent of minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit. The image provides more detailed information on the shape and true nature of the nebula that was previously available.

"This is important for the understanding of how stars die and become planetary nebulas," said Raghvendra Sahai, a researcher and principal scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Using ALMA, we were quite literally, and figuratively, able to shed new light on the death throes of a sun-like star."

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) facility is a partnership between the Republic of Chile, Europe, North America and East Asia.

Photo courtesy of NRAO/AUI/NSF/NASA/STScI/JPL-Caltech.