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NGC 6826, Caldwell 15, Optical

NGC 6826, Caldwell 15, Optical

C029/5558

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Credit

NASA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

NGC 6826 (also known as Caldwell 15) is a planetary nebula located in the constellation Cygnus. It is commonly referred to as the blinking planetary. When viewed through a small telescope, the brightness of the central star overwhelms the eye when viewed directly, obscuring the surrounding nebula. However, it can be viewed well in the peripheral vision (averted vision), which causes it to blink in and out of view as the observer's eye wanders. A distinctive feature of this nebula are the two bright patches on either side, which are known as FLIERs, or Fast Low-Ionization Emission Regions. They appear to be relatively young, moving outwards at supersonic speeds. X-ray emission from Chandra is colored purple and optical emission from the Hubble Space Telescope is colored red, green and blue. A planetary nebula is a phase of stellar evolution that the sun should experience several billion years from now, when it expands to become a red giant and then.

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