O ‘Olho de Deus’

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the 
Helix nebula, a cosmic starlet often photographed by amateur astronomers
 for its vivid colors and eerie resemblance to a giant eye. The 
nebula, located about 700 light-years away in the constellation 
Aquarius, belongs to a class of objects called planetary nebulae. 
Discovered in the 18th century, these cosmic butterflies were named for 
their resemblance to gas-giant planets. Planetary nebulae are actually
 the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. When 
sun-like stars die, they puff out their outer gaseous layers. These 
layers are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white 
dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible-light colors. Our own sun 
will blossom into a planetary nebula when it dies in about five billion 
years. In Spitzer's infrared view of the Helix nebula, the eye looks 
more like that of a green monster's. Infrared light from the outer 
gaseous layers is represented in blues and greens. The white dwarf is 
visible as a tiny white dot in the center of the picture. The red color 
in the middle of the eye denotes the final layers of gas blown out when 
the star died. The brighter red circle in the very center is the glow 
of a dusty disk circling the white dwarf (the disk itself is too small 
to be resolved). This dust, discovered by Spitzer's infrared 
heat-seeking vision, was most likely kicked up by comets that survived 
the death of their star. Before the star died, its comets and possibly 
planets would have orbited the star in an orderly fashion. But when the 
star blew off its outer layers, the icy bodies and outer planets would 
have been tossed about and into each other, resulting in an ongoing 
cosmic dust storm. Any inner planets in the system would have burned up 
or been swallowed as their dying star expanded. The Helix nebula is 
one of only a few dead-star systems in which evidence for comet 
survivors has been found. This image is made up of data from Spitzer's
 infrared array camera and multiband imaging photometer. Blue shows 
infrared light of 3.6 to 4.5 microns; green shows infrared light of 5.8 
to 8 microns; and red shows infrared light of 24 microns.


A nebulosa Helix, conhecida entre os astrônomos como “o Olho de Deus” pelas suas semelhanças a um enorme olho (astronomicamente enorme mesmo), foi agora fotografada pelo Telescópio Espacial Spitzer em infravermelhos, e o resultado é esta fotografia espetacular. As cores, naturalmente, são geradas por computador, geralmente designadas ‘cores falsas’. Você pode obter uma cópia em alta resolução da imagem no site oficial do Telescópio Spitzer.

Este é o aspecto da nebulosa à luz visível:



Houve inclusive uma série de emails que afirmavam que este era mesmo o Olho de Deus e que estava realizando milagres. A imagem é realmente belíssima, não temos somente “um belo planeta”, mas também um universo cheio de belezas incríveis e ainda desconhecidas.


Confira abaixo uma animação feita simulando uma visão 3D da nebulosa Helix.

[youtube d0Q_vWNt2Ho]

Fonte: http://miguellopes.wordpress.com