Bug Nebula

NGC 6302: The Bug Nebula in Scorpius

Object type: Planetary nebula

The Bug Nebula, so named for the tenticle-like areas of nebulosity extanding out from the main body, is elongated, and hence, hardly "planetary" looking, but, in fact, nearly 70 percent of all planetary nebulae are elongated in this fashion.

NGC 6302 is one of the most unique planetary nebulae, however. The two distinct areas of gas imply that matter is being ejected in to directions. Furthermore, the high rate of expansion (nearly 400 kilometers per second) suggests a far more violent beginning than expected of such an object. The high concentration of ionized iron atoms also seems to indicate that the central star has an unusually energetic flux.