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Nebula is 'coldest place in the universe'

Posted on Tuesday, 29 October, 2013 | Comment icon 13 comments

The Boomerang nebula. Image Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/NASA/STScI/JPL-Caltech

The Boomerang nebula is 5,000 light years away and has a temperature of -458 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature of the nebula is in fact so low and it is colder then the depths of interstellar space and is believed to be the coldest object observed anywhere in the known universe. Images of the nebula show it to exhibit a strange, ghost-like appearance.

Known as a planetary nebula, the object represents the end of the life cycle of a star not dissimilar to our own sun. Astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile to learn more about the nebula and to determine its true shape.

"This ultra-cold object is extremely intriguing and we're learning much more about its true nature with ALMA," said JPL scientist Raghvendra Sahai. "What seemed like a double lobe, or boomerang shape, from Earth-based optical telescopes, is actually a much broader structure that is expanding rapidly into space."

Source: JPL | Comments (13)

Tags: Boomerang Nebula

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rhino666 on 29 October, 2013, 17:08
Me neither.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 October, 2013, 21:53
I think you'll need a physicist for this, not an ex-chemist.
Comment icon #6 Posted by keithisco on 29 October, 2013, 22:03
LOL Waspie, but I know what you mean. As an aeronautical engineer with a passing amateur interest in pure physics some things fall well beneath my radar of understanding
Comment icon #7 Posted by MysticStrummer on 30 October, 2013, 4:34
Coldest place in the (observable) universe
Comment icon #8 Posted by Frank Merton on 30 October, 2013, 6:04
We measure its temperature from details of its spectrum. I would assume energy has been taken out of it by the expansion. That tends to cool things a bit as energy is consumed pushing outward.
Comment icon #9 Posted by woopypooky on 30 October, 2013, 12:03
how can stars be cold? they emit lights.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Frank Merton on 30 October, 2013, 12:08
Sorry this is not stars but a nebula, which is typically very very rarefied gas or dust.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Leonardo on 30 October, 2013, 13:15
The problem with that is CMB. CMB is everywhere and is hotter than the observed temperature of the nebula. Things only cool when they expand, if the space they are expanding into is less energetic (i.e. cooler). In this case that is not true. In theory, nothing should be naturally cooler than the temperature of empty space which, with CMB pervading it, is ~2.7 Kelvin.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Twin on 3 November, 2013, 2:18
It seems improbable that the most extreme "anything" would be that close to our little corner of the universe. BTW, I hate when then and than are confused (see the first sentence). I hate it almost as much as when people use BTW, BTW.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Belial on 3 November, 2013, 6:00
That be god that

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