Helix Nebula in Infrared
Date: 14 August 1997
Depicts: Helix Nebula
Copyright: ESA/ISO, ISOCAM, and P. Cox et al
Astronomers are surprised by new observations of the Helix Nebula, by ESA's Infrared Space Observatory, ISO. This beautiful object in the constellation Aquarius is a planetary nebula, the shroud of a dead star. It consists of shells of gas and dust ejected when a star of moderate size, similar to the Sun, ran out of fuel. The star blew off its outer layers, forming the nebula, and the inner part of the star collapsed to make a white dwarf star. The unexpected news from ISO is that the Helix Nebula has purged itself of much of its dust.
Last Update: 1 September 2019