Soccer Ball Nebula Kronberger 61 Can Help Solve Space Mystery

Unusual soccer ball Nebula, called Kronberger 6, was discovered by austrian amateurs astronomer Matthias Kronberger and was presented at a symposium of astronomers in Tenerife (Spain) in July 25, 2011. Astronomers think that new discovering may help them better understand these odd structures. Planetary nebulas form when stars like our sun exhaust their hydrogen fuel. The stars’ outer layers expand and cool, creating a huge envelope of dust and gas. Radiation flowing from the dying star ionizes this envelope, causing it to glow. Astronomers described the puffy nebula, which is located in a small patch of sky being monitored closely by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope.

Observations by Kepler can help answer key questions about planetary nebulas, such as how their formation may be shaped by companions, be they other stars or alien planets.