Dumbbell nebula (M27, NGC 6853), infrared image. This object, 4.5 light years across, consists of glowing shells of gas and dust cast off by a dying star. It is 1360 light years from Earth, in the constellation of Vulpecula. This image was obtained with the IRAC instrument on the Spitzer Space Telescope. Infrared radiation of increasing wavelength (decreasing temperature) has been color-coded blue, green, and red. At centre, gas atoms are being heated by ultraviolet light from the central white dwarf. Much of the cast off material will mix with nearby nebulae, helping to fuel the next generation of stars. Image published in 2011.
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