TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY & DAPHNE HALLAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ring nebula. Optical image of the ring nebula M57, which is situated 2,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. A planetary nebula is unrelated to planets, instead it is a shell of gas ejected from a star near the end of its life. Despite its name and appearance, the ring nebula is actually thought to be cylindrical, we just happen to look down the centre of the cylinder to the central dyeing star. This Sun-like star has collapsed, forming a white dwarf that will cool and fade over billions of years.
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