Cat's eye planetary nebula

Cat's eye planetary nebula

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Credit: J-P METSAVAINIO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cat's eye planetary nebula (NGC 6543). A planetary nebula is a glowing shell of gas cast off by a Sun-like star near the end of its life. Radiation from the exposed core of the star ionises the gas in the shell, causing it to emit light. They are short lived objects, lasting only around 10,000 years before the central star cools and loses the energy required to ionise the gas, which causes it to fade. This planetary nebula lies 3300 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco. Different colours represent different ionised gases; sulphur is red, hydrogen is green and oxygen is blue.

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Keywords: astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, cat's eye, cats eye, draco, false colour, gas shell, hst-palette, hubble palette, ngc 6543, planetary nebula, shells, space, star death, stellar death, telescope

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