There's a newly discovered "butterfly" and this one isn't on Earth.
Astronomers have found a "space butterfly" thousands of light years away, colored in brilliant blues, purple and red. They've also managed to capture a photo of the "butterfly," in more vivid details than we've ever seen it before.
The "butterfly" is actually a planetary space nebula, which is named its resemblance to the Earth insect. The nebula is a giant cloud of gas that forms around an ancient star that hasn't yet exploded, reports CNN.
The European Space Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope stationed in Chile, recently captured the vibrant image of the interstellar object.
Resembling a butterfly with its symmetrical structure, beautiful colors, and intricate patterns, this striking bubble of gas—known as NGC 2899—appears to float and flutter across the sky in this new picture.
NGC 2899's vast swathes of gas extend up to a maximum of two light-years from its center, glowing brightly in front of the stars of the Milky Way as the gas reaches temperatures upwards of ten thousand degrees, reports Phys.org
The high temperatures are because of the large amounts of radiation from the nebula's star, which causes the hydrogen gas in the nebula to glow in a reddish halo around the oxygen gas, in blue.
NGC 2899, NGC stands for New General Catalogue, which lists nebulae and other astral bodies. The nebula is located somewhere between 3,000 and 6,500 light years away from Earth in the constellation Vela, which is visible in the Southern Hemisphere, according to ESO.
The nebula has two central stars, which are believed to give it its nearly symmetric appearance. After one star reached the end of its life and cast off its outer layers, the other star now interferes with the flow of gas, forming the two-lobed shape, said ESO in its release.
The Very Large Telescope which captured the image is located in Chilean mountains and can see things more than 4 billion times more than the human eye.