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Now, 3D-print a nebula at home

The first high-resolution three-dimensional model of the expanding cloud is publicly available

Washington: Ever dreamed of holding a nebula in your hands? Thanks to NASA, this may now be a reality as the first high-resolution three-dimensional model of the expanding cloud produced by a massive star’s eruption is now available to all.

Wolfgang Steffen, an astrophysicist, recently created the first ever 3D-printed model of the Nebula by using a software called Shape
Wolfgang Steffen, an astrophysicist, recently created the first ever 3D-printed model of the Nebula by using a software called Shape

For this you need to download the plans that NASA has made publicly available, feed them into your 3D-printing software, and watch your very own Homunculus Nebula, a shell of gas and dust ejected during the star’s mid-19th century eruption, form before your eyes.

Between 1838 and 1845, the binary system Eta Carinae underwent a period of unusual variability during which it briefly outshone Canopus, normally the second brightest star.

As a part of this event, which astronomers call the Great Eruption, a gaseous shell containing at least 10 and perhaps as much as 40 times the sun’s mass was shot into space.

This material forms a twin-lobed dust filled cloud known as the Homunculus Nebula, which is now about a light-year long and continues to expand at more than 1.3 million mph (2.1 million km/hr).

Wolfgang Steffen, astrophysicist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, recently created the first ever 3D-printed model of the Homunculus Nebula by using a software called Shape.

The model was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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