The Boomerang Nebula: Coldest Place in the Universe
Located about 5,000 light years away from Earth, the Boomerang Nebula is the coldest place found in the universe so far. The temperature of the nebula has been measured at -272.15 degrees Celsius/-457.87 degrees Fahrenheit. So what makes this nebula so cold?
The Boomerang Nebula, which is also known as the Bow Tie Nebula, was formed by the outflow of gas from an aging central star at speeds of nearly 600,000 kilometers per hour. It is thought the star is losing as much as one-thousandth of a solar mass of material per year for 1,500 years. This rapid expansion of gas has cooled molecules in the nebula to about one degree above absolute zero. This is even colder than the cosmic background radiation found throughout much of the universe.
The light from the nebula is from the central star and is being reflected by dust. It is believed that this beautiful nebula is still very young and will evolve into the more familiar planetary nebula with bubble like lobes. Planetary nebulae form around a bright, central star when it expels gas in the last stages of it’s life.