NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Dumbbell nebula. Coloured infrared image of the Dumbbell nebula (M27, NGC 6853) in the constellation of Vulpecula. It is a planetary nebula, an expanding ball of gas that surrounds a Sun-like star near the end of its life. The gases are seen as different colours: hydrogen as blue, sulphur as green and helium as red. The Dumbbell Nebula is the nearest planetary nebula to Earth at 1000 light years away. It is 2 light years in diameter. Photographed by the 3.5-metre telescope at the WIYN observatory, USA.
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