Abell 30: a born-again planetary nebula

 
Abell 30: a born-again planetary nebula

The intricate pattern of planetary nebula Abell 30 is revealed in these images that combine optical Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images with XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray data.

In the main image a large spherical shell is seen in emission of hydrogen (blue) and oxygen (red) as the result of the star’s outer shell being stripped off by a dense wind and expanding outward over the last 12 500 years. During the ‘born-again’ phase in the star’s evolution, it expelled knots of helium and carbon-rich material. A subsequent fast wind is streaming past this material to form the flower-like structure seen in oxygen emission (red) to produce shock-heated gas seen in X-rays (purple).

The inset panel zooms in to the heart of the planetary nebula to reveal intricate details closer to the star. The tail-like structures (orange) mark the dense knots of material from the ‘born-again’ event and are seen in HST images. X-ray emission from this evolutionary phase is shown in purple.

The image spans approximately 2.5 x 2.5 arcminutes.

Credits: Main image: X-ray: ESA/XMM-Newton; optical: NSF/NOAO/KPNO; inset: NASA/CXC/IAA-CSIC/M. Guerrero et al; optical: NASA/STScI

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