Headlines > News > Picture of the Day - A Mysterious Erupting Star

Picture of the Day - A Mysterious Erupting Star

Published by Matt on Thu Jul 8, 2010 1:26 pm via: Hubble ESA
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“Starry Night”, Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting, is renowned for its bold whorls of light sweeping across a raging night sky. Although this image of the heavens came only from the artist’s restless imagination, a new picture from the Hubble Space Telescope bears remarkable similarities to the van Gogh work, complete with never-before-seen spirals of dust swirling across trillions of kilometers of interstellar space.

A Mysterious Erupting Star. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

A Mysterious Erupting Star. Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

This image, obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on February 8, 2004, is Hubble’s latest view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon). The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a flashbulb-like pulse of light two years ago. V838 Mon is located about 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros, placing the star at the outer edge of our Milky Way galaxy.

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