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Stars and stellar evolution
Butterfly Nebula

Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302, also called the Bug Nebula


A planetary nebula formed by a dying star originally about 5 times the mass of the Sun


The planetary nebula is found in the constellation Scorpius, in the Southern Hemisphere.

Distance from Earth

3,800 light-years


2.7 light-years across

A butterfly shape emerges from stellar demise in a planetary nebula.

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"Fast Facts: Butterfly Nebula" is a table that lists the name, location, size, and distance of this planetary nebula from Earth. A picture of the nebula is included.

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Adaptable, at teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A mapping activity. Locate the nebula's associated constellation on a star map.

A large-number recognition activity. Have students look at several Fast Fact tables, including this one. Ask them to place the objects described in the Fast Fact tables in order, starting with the object closest to Earth and ending with the one farthest away.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

Related materials

HubbleSite press release: "Hubble Opens New Eyes on the Universe"

Amazing Space resources by topic: Stars and Stellar Evolution