ALMA Returns to the Boomerang Nebula

5 m
image of the boomerang nebula
The Boomerang Nebula (credit d'image: ALMA; NASA/ESA Hubble; NRAO/AUI/NSF)

The Boomerang Nebula is the coldest location in the known universe at roughly 2 degrees colder than empty space! This nebula is the result of the death of a red giant star, and the extreme temperature is caused by the rapid expansion of the nebula. According to thermodynamics, if you expand a gas you cool a gas (just try using one of those compressed air cans for cleaning electronics). However, according to astronomers, a single star's death could not account for a strong enough wind to create this expansion. Based on this hypothesis, and data from the ALMA observatory, astronomers now believe the expansion of the Boomerang Nebula is being driven by a companion star.

Go To Source Story
ALMA Returns to the Boomerang Nebula
Profile picture for user Jesse Rogerson
Jesse Rogerson

Jesse Rogerson is the Science Advisor at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.