The Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888)

Posted by Fred Herrmann
on Friday, March 21, 2014

The Crescent nebula, aka NGC6888 is one of the stranger emission nebulae formed by the interaction of a red giant and a high energy Wolf-Rayet star. The Crescent is located in the constellation Cygnus at a distance of 5,000 light-years. It was first discovered by William Herschel in 1792.

Normally higher density materials such as oxygen (blue envelope which envelops the reddish hydrogen) move through space at a slower speed than the lighter hydrogen and remain closer to the core of the nebula. However in the case of the Crescent the nebula is enveloped in a shroud of oxygen. It’s also believed that the Wolf-Rayet star may explode into a supernova. If it did go supernova about 5,000 years ago we should have a good show here on Earth since we are relatively close at only 5,000 light-years!

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