A bipolar reflection nebula
that lies about 5,000 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus.
The symmetric cloud appears to have been created by a high-speed wind of
gas and dust blowing from an aging asymptotic giant
branch (AGB) star at a speed of 164 km/s. This rapid expansion has cooled
carbon monoxide molecules in the nebular gas to a mere 1 K – colder
even than the cosmic background radiation – making it the coldest
region in the cosmos (outside a lab) ever observed. The ultracool Boomerang
shines with light from the central star reflected by dust and is believed
to be evolving rapidly, on a timescale of about 1,000 years, to the planetary
||~1.3 light-years (0.4 pc)
||~5,000 light-years (1,500 pc)
||R.A. 12h 44m 46.1s,
Dec. -54° 31' 12"