Kronberger-61 – Newly Discovered Planetary Nebula

A New Planetary Nebula named Kronberger-61
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory / AURA

Scientists have discovered a new planetary nebula around a star named Kronberger-61, after its discoverer Matthias Kronberger, a member of an amateur astronomy group known as the Deep Sky Hunters.

Planetary nebulae are the last gasps of a dying star, consisting of an expanding glowing shell of ionized gas ejected during the red giant branch phase of certain types of stars like our Sun.

Associate Professor Orsola De Marco from Sydney’s Macquarie University notes that Kronberger-61 is within the field of view of the Kepler Observatory and Kepler may be able to determine if the star has a companion. A companion is theorized as necessary for the formation and structure of a planetary nebula.

The Kitt Peak National Observatory in the United States confirmed Matthias Kronberger’s discovery, and the Gemini North Observatory imaged the new nebula (above). The star has been placed on the observation list for monitoring by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.

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