Cultura

Dan a conocer una mirada colorida de la Nebulosa del Cangrejo

Investigadores de la Administración Nacional de la Aeronáutica y del Espacio (NASA) y la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA) dieron a conocer la imagen de la Nebulosa del Cangrejo del Sur, fotografía con la que celebran el vigésimo noveno aniversario del Telescopio Espacial Hubble.

La nebulosa, conocida oficialmente como Hen 2-104, se ubica en la constelación de Centaurus y tiene dos estructuras anidadas en forma de reloj de arena esculpidas por un par de estrellas. Los especialistas la describen como un dúo de estrellas, una gigante roja envejecida y una enana blanca.

Ambas esferas luminosas están incrustadas en un disco de gas que se extiende entre ellas; son las burbujas de gas y polvo las que dan la ilusión de estructuras de patas de cangrejo.

De acuerdo con la NASA, los primeros reportes de esa nebulosa se realizaron a finales de la década de 1960, pero se identificó como una estrella común; en 1989, los astrónomos usaron el Observatorio La Silla del Observatorio Europeo Austral en Chile para fotografiarla y desde entonces se le ubica por su forma de cangrejo.

Hubble se lanzó el 24 de abril de 1990 a bordo del transbordador espacial Discovery, y desde su posición elevada por encima de los efectos distorsionadores de la atmósfera de la Tierra, revela al Universo en luz casi ultravioleta, visible e infrarroja.

En los últimos 29 años, los descubrimientos de ese telescopio espacial han revolucionado los campos de la astronomía y la astrofísica.

Como un proyecto de cooperación entre la Administración Nacional de la Aeronáutica y del Espacio (NASA, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA, por sus siglas en inglés), lo administra el Instituto de Ciencia del Telescopio Espacial en Baltimore, Maryland.

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