SMP 4 in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Depicts: SMP 4
Copyright: NASA; L. Stanghellini, R. Shaw, C. Blades, and M. Mutchler, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.; and B. Balick, University of Washington, Seattle.
In the pictures of the planetary nebulae, color corresponds to
temperature. Blue represents hotter regions of the nebulae and red,
Scientists are probing these illuminated stellar relics in our
neighboring galaxy because they are at relatively the same distance -
about 168,000 light-years -- from Earth. Knowing the distance to these
objects allows scientists to compare their shapes and sizes, and
precisely determine the brightness of their central stars. For this
reason, even though these glowing remains of dying stars are about 50
times farther away than the stunning planetary nebulae photographed
in the Milky Way, they are of invaluable importance.
Last Update: 1 September 2019