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Helix nebula, HST image

Helix nebula, HST image

R700/0150

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Credit

NASA / ESA / STSCI / C.O'DELL, VANDERBILT U. ET AL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / C.O'DELL, VANDERBILT U. ET AL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Helix nebula, Hubble Space Telescope image. The Helix nebula (NGC 7293) is a planetary nebula, a set of dust shells cast off by a star towards the end of its life. The Helix nebula comprises at least two disc-shaped shells, oriented nearly at right angles to each other. How such a shape was formed remains a mystery. The gas glows as it is ionised by radiation from the star that ejected it. The Helix nebula lies around 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. This image was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the HST in 2004.

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