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Looking Down a Barrel of Gas at a Doomed Star

Looking Down a Barrel of Gas at a Doomed Star


Depicts: M57, The Ring Nebula, NGC 6720, IRAS 18517+3257
Copyright: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the sharpest view yet of the most famous of all planetary nebulae: the Ring Nebula (M57). In this October 1998 image, the telescope has looked down a barrel of gas cast off by a dying star thousands of years ago. This photo reveals elongated dark clumps of material embedded in the gas at the edge of the nebula; the dying central star floating in a blue haze of hot gas. The nebula is about a light-year in diameter and is located some 2,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra.
Last Update: 1 September 2019
1-Mar-2024 00:47 UT

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