RCW 120

RCW 120 is an HII emission nebula in the constellation Scorpio. At a distance of about 4,300 light-years it is also known as Sh 2-3, Gum 58, and the Green Ring Nebula.

There is an embryonic star located in the dense white area at the bottom edge of the ring. This proto-star, currently at 10 solar masses, will continue to grow by accreting more of the surrounding gas and dust. When the star ignites, likely in the next few hundred thousand years, it will become one of the brightest stars in the Galaxy.

This painting is based on an image taken by the Hershel space telescope early in its lifetime.


Lederman’s Nobel Medal Auctioned Off

By way of Real Clear Science I came across this article- Physicist’s Nobel Prize up for Auction; $325,000 Minimum Bid. The online auction, conducted by Nate D. Sanders Auctions, ended last night with the medal fetching $765,002.00.

The opening line from the Certificate of Authenticity- signed by Lederman- emphasis mine-

The 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded to particle physicist Leon Lederman for his discovery of the muon neutrino, a particle 200 times the size of an electron.

I sent the auction house an email informing them of the error- the muon neutrino is actually smaller, mass-wise, than an electron by a factor of approximately one million. I never heard back; you would think that any factual error on a Certificate of Authenticity would be a concern. I guess a large commission and a 20% buyer’s premium is more important than scientific accuracy.