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Caught on camera: Astronomers snap ‘space butterfly’ pic from thousands of light-years away – WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

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This highly detailed image of the fantastic NGC 2899 planetary nebula was captured using the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile. This object has never before been imaged in such striking detail, with even the faint outer edges of the planetary nebula glowing over the background stars.

(CNN) — Thousands of light-years away, there’s a “space butterfly” colored with brilliant blues and clouds of purple and red. It’s an image we’ve never seen in this much detail before.

So named for its resemblance to the winged insect, the “butterfly” is actually a planetary nebula — a giant cloud of gas that forms around an ancient star that hasn’t yet exploded. The European Space Observatory’s (ESO) aptly named Very Large Telescope, stationed in host country Chile, recently captured a vibrant image of the interstellar object.

It’s known as NGC 2899 (NGC stands for New General Catalogue, which lists nebulae and other astral bodies like this one). It’s located somewhere between 3,000 and 6,500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Vela, which is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

This planetary nebula isn’t long for this universe. Ultraviolet radiation lights up the shells of gas surrounding the star and causes them to shine quite brightly, the ESO said — but only for a few thousand years before they break up. That’s a relatively short life span in astronomy.

The Very Large Telescope that captured the image is the “world’s most advanced optical instrument,” according to the ESO. With the accompanying interferometer, the tool can illuminate details 25 times finer than individual telescopes. And on its own, the telescope tucked in the Chilean mountains can see things more than 4 billion times fainter than what the human eye could see.

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Watch a tiny camera show the world from a bug’s point of view – Science Magazine

By Meagan Cantwell

To save energy, many insects swivel their head—instead of their entire body—to scan the world around them. Researchers have now replicated this with a tiny camera with a one-of-a-kind arm they can maneuver from a smartphone. The total system weighs just 248 milligrams—less than a dollar bill.

When strapped onto a beetle’s back, the camera can stream video in close to real time. It can also pivot to provide a panoramic view from the beetle’s perspective (as seen in this video). What’s more, when the camera was mounted onto an insect-size robot, the bot used up to 84 times less energy by moving the arm of the camera instead of its entire body.

The technology is one of the smallest, self-powering vision systems to date, researchers report this month in Science Robotics. In the future, scientists could use these tiny cams to gain insight into the habits of insects outside the lab.

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