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Planetary nebula NGC 246

Planetary nebula NGC 246

R700/0170

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Credit

GEMINI SOUTH GMOS / TRAVIS RECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE / NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEMINI SOUTH GMOS / TRAVIS RECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE / NOAO / AURA / NSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Planetary nebula NGC 246. Optical image showing the composition of the expanding shell of gas and dust making up planetary nebula NGC 246, also known as the Skull Nebula. The colours correspond to light emitted by atoms of hydrogen (yellow), oxygen (red) and sulphur (blue). The white dwarf at the centre of the planetary nebula has cast off the material seen here, and the material is glowing as it impacts the surrounding interstellar medium. The edge of the nebula is thicker towards top because the star is moving in that direction. NGC 246 is around 1600 light years from Earth, in the constellation Cetus. Image obtained in November 2005 by the Gemini Multi- Object Spectrograph (GMOS) at Gemini South, Chile.

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