NGC 6302 (The Bug Nebula, The Butterfly Nebula)

Distance: 3500 Light Years

constellation: Scorpius

text copyright Robert Gendler 2008


NGC 6302 is a high excitation multi-polar planetary nebula first studied by Emerson Barnard in 1907. The complex planetary nebula is approximately 1900 years old and is expanding at 600 KM/sec. A dark lane extends across the waist of the nebula and obscures the hot central star at optical wavelengths. The nature of the central star is unknown but evidence suggests it's progenitor was a massive sun of 5 to 6 solar masses. Its spectrum suggests a surface temperture of 200,000 K, making it one of the hottest objects in the galaxy.