Internet Astronomy: The Spare Tire

Spare TireWhen observed with a smaller amateur telescope, this particular planetary nebula looks like a ring of material, with a star shining in the middle of the hole. Hence, the of nickname IC 5148 is the Spare Tire Nebula. When viewed via the ESO’s New Technology Telescope, the nebula resembles ethereal blossom with layered petals.

IC 5148 is a planetary nebula located 3000 or so light-years away in the constellation of Grus (The Crane). It has a diameter of a couple of light-years and is still growing at over 50 km/s, making itone of the fastest expanding planetary nebulae known. As a star with a mass similar to or a few times more than that of our Sun approaches the end of its life, its outer layers are thrown off into space. The expanding gas is illuminated by the hot remaining core of the star at the center, forming the planetary nebula.

Image Credit: ESO

1 thought on “Internet Astronomy: The Spare Tire


  1. “The Spare Tire” — That sure isn’t a very pretty name for such a stunning astronomical occurrence.

    Oh, well. Very purdy all the same. Always love the pics you post, John.

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