Image #: SCI2012_0003
Title: Planetary Nebula M2-9
Caption: SOFIA mid-infrared image of the planetary nebula Minkowski 2-9 (M2-9), also known as the Butterfly Nebula, compared with a visual-wavelength Hubble Space Telescope image at the same scale and orientation. The nebula is composed of two lobes of gas & dust expelled from a dying star with about the mass of our Sun that is seen at the center of the lobes. The HST image shows mostly ionized gas in the lobes whereas the SOFIA image shows mostly solid grains condensing in the gas. The SOFIA data were obtained during SOFIA's Early Science program in 2011 by a Guest Investigator team led by Michael Werner of Caltech/JPL using the FORCAST camera (P.I.Terry Herter, Cornell University).
Credit: SOFIA image, RGB = 37, 24, 20 microns; NASA / DLR / USRA / DSI / FORCAST team / M. Werner et al. / A. Helton, J. Rho
HST image: NASA / ESA / NSF / AURA / Hubble Heritage Team / STScI / B. Balick, V. Icke, G. Mellema