Messier 57

ring_nebulaThe Hubble Space Telescope took a look down a barrel of gas cast off by a dying star thousands of years ago. The resulting photo reveals elongated dark clumps of material embedded in the gas at the edge of the nebula and the dying central star floating in a blue haze of hot gas. This ring nebula (aka Messier 57) is about a light-year in diameter and around 2,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The colors shown in this image are roughly true colors. The image was assembled from three black-and-white photos taken through different color filters. Blue emissions come from very hot helium mostly located near the hot central star. Green is from ionized oxygen found farther out. Red comes from ionized nitrogen farthest from the star. The gases glow because it is excited ultraviolet radiation from the star whose surface temperature is estimated to be over 100,000 °C.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

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