After only 4.5 million years (one-thousandth the age of the Sun), HD 192163 began its headlong rush toward a supernova catastrophe. First it expanded enormously to become a red giant and ejected its outer layers at about 20,000 miles per hour. Two hundred thousand years later - a blink of the eye in the life of a normal star - the intense radiation from the exposed hot, inner layer of the star began pushing gas away at speeds in excess of 3 million miles per hour!
HD 192163 will likely explode as a supernova in about a hundred thousand years. This image enables astronomers to determine the mass, energy, and composition of the gaseous shell around this pre-supernova star. An understanding of such environments provides important data for interpreting observations of supernovas and their remnants.
The Hubble Space Telescope's image of the Crescent Nebula (top of page) revealed that the shell of matter surrounding the aging star HD 192163, is a network of filaments and dense knots, all enshrouded in a thin "skin" of gas [seen above in blue]. The skin is glowing because it is being blasted by ultraviolet light from HD 192163. Hubble's view covers a small region at the northeast tip of the structure, which is roughly three light-years across. A picture taken by a ground-based telescope [lower right] shows almost the entire nebula. The whole structure is about 16 light-years wide and 25 light-years long. The bright dot near the center of NGC 6888 is HD 192163. The white outline in the upper left-hand corner represents Hubble's view.
The Daily Galaxy Via NASA/Chandra Xray Space Telescope
Image Credit top of page: With thanks to J-P Metsavainio (http://astroanarchy.zenfolio.com/)