The radiation emanating from the center of the nebula is due to the recombination of hydrogen atoms. This is a very rare phenomenon that can occur only under specific conditions.
Usually the space around the dead star is relatively empty, because its material is thrown out when it collapses. But in the center of the Ant Nebula, the gas density is tens of thousands of times greater than usual. Astronomers suggest that there is a double star system, and the dying star has a companion.
This system is surrounded by a dense accretion disk – a rotating ring of gas around the stars. Most likely, it amplifies the laser radiation emanating from the center of the nebula. However, while scientists can not accurately explain the mechanism of the formation of this radiation – the power of telescopes is not enough to see the alleged “companion”.
The nebula that generates laser radiation is an extremely rare phenomenon, so the Ant attracted so much attention of astronomers. His observations were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.