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Close Up of the Helix Nebula


This photograph of the coil-shaped Helix Nebula is one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made. The composite picture is a seamless blend of ultra sharp images from Hubble Space Telescope combined with the wide view of the Mosaic Camera on the National Science Foundation's 0.9 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. The image shows a fine web of filamentary bicycle spoke features embedded in the colorful red and blue ring of gas.



At 650 light years away, the Helix is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth. A planetary nebula is the glowing gas around a dying, Sun like star.



Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO).

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