The Boomerang Nebula. Credit: NASA/ESA
|Observation data (Epoch J2000)|
|Right ascension||12h 44m 45.45s|
|Declination||-54° 31′ 11.4″|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||1′.445 × 0′.724|
|Other designations||Centaurus Bipolar Nebula|
The Boomerang Nebula is a protoplanetary nebula located 5,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Centaurus. The nebula is measured at 1 K (−272.15 °C; −457.87 °F), naturally the coolest place currently known in the Universe. The Boomerang Nebula was formed from the outflow of gas from a star at its core. The gas is moving outwards at a speed of about 164 km/s and expanding rapidly as it moves out into space. This expansion is the cause of the nebula's very low temperature.
Keith Taylor and Mike Scarrott called it the 'Boomerang Nebula' in 1980 after observing it with the Anglo-Australian telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory. Unable to view it with the same detail as with the Hubble, the astronomers saw merely a slight asymmetry in the nebula's lobes, suggesting a curved shape like a boomerang.
In 1995, using the 15-metre Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope in Chile, astronomers revealed that it is the coldest place in the Universe found so far, besides the laboratory-created Bose-Einstein condensate state of matter. With a temperature of −272 °C, it is only 1 °C warmer than absolute zero (the lowest limit for all temperatures). Even the −270 °C background glow from the Big Bang is warmer than the nebula. Aside from the CMB cold spot, it is the only object found so far that has a temperature lower than the background radiation. The Boomerang Nebula is also listed as PGC 3074547.
- SIMBAD (January 4, 2007). Results for Boomerang Nebula. SIMBAD, Centre de Données Astronomiques de Strasbourg
- Cauchi, Stephen (February 21, 2003). "Coolest bow tie in the universe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2007
- Sahai, Raghvendra; Nyman, Lars-Åke (1997). "The Boomerang Nebula: The Coolest Region of the Universe?". The Astrophysical Journal 487 (2): L155–L159. Bibcode:1997ApJ...487L.155S. doi:10.1086/310897.
- Browne, Malcolm W. (June 24, 1997). "The Chilliest of Stars". New York Times.
- The Boomerang Nebula - The Coolest Place in the Universe?, ESA, 20 February 2003
- Hubble's View of the Boomerang Nebula, 13 September 2005; see also Scattered Light from the Boomerang Nebula
- ESA/Hubble-Boomerang Nebula
- SIMBAD, Coordinates and Scientific data. January 4, 2007.