Helix Nebula

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This image of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) is actually a composite of nine separate images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  What is this nebula, and how did this picture come about?

We get the answers to those questions from NOAO (the National Optical Astronomy Observatory):

This composite picture is a seamless blend of nine ultra-sharp images from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys with the wide-field view of the Mosaic Camera on the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

The image shows a fine web of filamentary “bicycle-spoke” features embedded in the colorful red and blue gas ring, which is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth.

One of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the picture was released on May 9, 2003, by the Space Telescope Science Institute and NOAO in honor of Astronomy Day 2003, which took place the following day.

The radiant “tie-die” colors of the planetary nebula, located in the constellation Aquarius about 650 light-years distant from Earth, correspond to glowing oxygen (blue) and hydrogen and nitrogen (red).

To download an amazing view of the Helix Nebula, visit NOAO’s website.

Media Credits

Image, described above, by NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO)


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"Helix Nebula" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Oct 23, 2017.
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