Pistol Nebula

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Emission nebula
H II region
Pistol star and nebula.jpg
False-color image of the Pistol Star and Pistol Nebula, taken by NICMOS
Observation data: epoch
Right ascension 17h 46m 15.3s
Declination −28° 50′ 04″
Distance 25,000 ly
See also: Lists of nebulae
Quintuplet cluster region, centred on the Pistol nebula

The Pistol Nebula[1] is located in the constellation Sagittarius. It surrounds one of the most luminous stars known, the Pistol Star.[2] Both are located 25,000 light years away from Earth in the Quintuplet cluster, near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The nebula contains approximately 9.3 solar masses worth of ionized gas that was ejected by the star several thousand years ago. The nebula was named in the 1980s for its shape as seen in low resolution images that were available at the time. The Pistol Star, a luminous blue variable is 1.6 million times brighter than the Sun making it one of the most luminous stars in the Milky Way.


  1. ^ Figer, Donald F.; Morris, Mark; Geballe, T. R.; Rich, R. Michael; Serabyn, Eugene; McLean, Ian S.; Puetter, R. C.; Yahil, Amos (1999). "High-Resolution Infrared Imaging and Spectroscopy of the Pistol Nebula: Evidence for Ejection". The Astrophysical Journal. 525 (2): 759. arXiv:astro-ph/9906479Freely accessible. Bibcode:1999ApJ...525..759F. doi:10.1086/307927. 
  2. ^ Figer, Donald F.; Najarro, Francisco; Morris, Mark; McLean, Ian S.; Geballe, Thomas R.; Ghez, Andrea M.; Langer, Norbert (1998). "The Pistol Star". The Astrophysical Journal. 506: 384. Bibcode:1998ApJ...506..384F. doi:10.1086/306237.