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Hot Space Bubble

XMM-Newton EPIC (blue) and CTIO optical H-alpha (red) and [O III] (green) images of the bubble S308 around the Wolf-Rayet star HD 50896. The large angular size of this WR bubble required the acquisition of a mosaic of four XMM-Newton EPIC observations by a team led by Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois). The optical images were taken by R.C. Smith (NOAO/CTIO) using the Michigan Curtis Schmidt telescope. Located at 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Canis Major, S308 is a colossal bubble, almost 60 light-years across, blown by the powerful stellar wind of the WR star HD 50896. The stellar wind itself is shock-heated to high temperatures and emits X-rays, whereas the nebular material seen in H-alpha is snow-plowed by the stellar wind and a shock propagating outwards into the circumstellar medium is seen in the [O III] light. This bubble will soon break and disperse into the circumstellar medium. The WR star will end its life later in a supernova explosion.

Image: Image courtesy of J.A. Toala and M.A. Guerrero (IAA-CSIC), Y.-H. Chu and R.A. Gruendl (UIUC), S.J. Arthur (CRyA – UNAM), R.C. Smith (NOAO/CTIO), and S.L. Snowden (NASA/GSFC) and G.Ramos-Larios (IAM) and ESA. [high-resolution]

Source: Wired Science, click image