4 Cool Facts About the Hourglass Nebula

4 Cool Facts about the Hourglass Nebula

The Hourglass has such a unique, interesting and mostly just plain out cool structure which resembles that of an hourglass (as seen from the upper view) that we feel it’s worthy of a deeper look. These 4 cool facts about the Hourglass Nebula should help to provide more detail into what makes it exciting, outside of just its stunning shape.

The Hourglass Nebula happens to be the most famous it was mentioned in Final Doom, a popular game, among other places.




The Hourglass Nebula is a social icon and has been popularly featured in many different aspects of pop-culture. The Hourglass Nebula is also featured on the cover of the Pearl’s Jem album. It has a poster at CERN laboratory or super Collider laboratory.

So let’s dive in and spend some time looking at 4 Cool Facts about the Hourglass Nebula.

Hourglass Nebula Fact #4: The Planetary Emission Nebula

Located in the Musca Constellation, this nebula is a young one, compared to other nebula which are aged much older. Here are some basic facts to better help you understand the beauty of the Hourglass Nebula.

  • Distance from the Earth is: 8,154 light years
  • Magnitude: 13
  • Right ascension or angular position: 13° 39′ 35″
  • Constellations of: Musca
  • The apparent magnitude of the Hourglass is (V): 13
  • Expansion velocity of the nebula: 10 km/s.

Hourglass Nebula Fact #3: Why the Hourglass Shape?

The shaped this nebula has is unique and largely due to the expansion of the stellar winds in the region within this giant molecular cloud.

This cloud region and winds are quite dense in nature, but has caused this nebula to form in one of the most stunning shapes we’ve ever seen.

Hourglass Nebula Fact #2: The Glowing of the Hourglass Nebula

Like all other constellations and nebulae, this too has many stars which make it bright. The glowing and illuminated nature of the Hourglass Nebula is because of its star the Wolf-Rayet (WR9).



Image source: https://flic.kr/p/5AUime


The Wolf-Rayet star has ejected and expelled some material which gives the Hourglass Nebula its glowing features. This star happens to be at the center of the nebula (which is even more awesome) and has a blazing hot temperature of nearly 110,000° Kelvin, smokin’.

Hourglass Nebula Fact #1: Some notable features

It’s oriented or tilted in a way that it has a biased face towards the direction of Earth. Its central stars emit high energy radiations and high energy solar wind, this helps it look more like an hourglass.

Some heavy elements are also present in the core of hourglass nebula, the core interestingly has a strong magnetic field and causes different dust and other particles get trapped inside the nebula from this attraction.

When these particles are trapped inside the Hourglass Nebula, the light reflected from the star passes at different angles and thus the shape of an hourglass is achieved by the nebula.

Raj Koothrapali a famous character from the hit show The Big Bang Theory on television has been seen giving a mention or two to the Hourglass Nebula and therefore its significance in pop culture has been established once again.

Scientists are already giving their best to understand the Hourglass Nebula’s composition, the present, past and related aspects of the nebula to help define a specific future for this nebula.

Featured image source: https://goo.gl/OBLgNw

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1 Comment

  1. I think you meant to say “Pearl Jam’s album, ‘Binarual'” in the second paragraph. It’s my favorite album because of said cover and all of the amazing Hubble images within. Not to mention, the music is kick-ass!!

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