Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo

Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

Image Credit: (ESA/NASA)

A cold breath on a window pane from a person looking out at the stars? Not quite. But if you want to talk about extremes in science, this is certainly it. What you are seeing is the Boomerang Nebula — the coldest object found in the Universe so far!

This NASA/European space Agency image, was taken in 1998 by the Hubble Space Telescope. It shows a young nebula in the constellation of Centaurus, 5,000 light-years from Earth. This particular nebula, called a Planetary Nebula, forms around a bright, central star when it expels gas in the last stages of its life. In 1995 astronomers revealed that this nebula is the coldest place known so far in the Universe. With a temperature of -272°C, it is only 1 degree warmer than absolute zero (the lowest limit for all temperatures).