The breathtakingly beautiful Cocoon Nebula is located about 4,000 light years away toward the constellation of Cygnus. Hidden inside the Cocoon is a newly developing open cluster of stars dominated by a massive star in the center of the above image that opened a hole in an existing molecular cloud through which much of the glowing material flows. The same star, which formed about 100,000 years ago, provides the energy source for much of the emitted and reflected light from this nebula.
When the core collapses in less than a second, it causes a supernova, in which a shock wave blows of the outer layers of the star. If the core -between 1.5 - 3 solar masses- survives, it contracts to become a neutron star. If the core is much greater than 3 solar masses, the core contracts to become a black hole.
« "There May Be Trillions of 'Earths' Orbiting Red Dwarfs" (Today's Most Popular) | Main | "Basic Organics Needed to Ignite Life Started in Coldest Regions of Universe"--NASA Scientists (Weekend Feature) »