A cloud of gas is expelled and illuminated by the dying star at the center of the Helix Nebula.
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to celestial objects. From the vantage point of Earth the Helix Nebula looks like a donut, but it is actually more complex. Because these objects are so far away, it is difficult to see their three-dimensional structure. The Helix Nebula looks a bit like a doughnut, but earlier images of this gaseous envelope ejected by a dying, sun-like star were interpreted to show that the Helix's form resembled a snake-like coil. Most recently, the Helix's structure has become even more perplexing with evidence suggesting that the Helix consists of two nearly perpendicular discs.
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Object Name: Helix Nebula, NGC 7293
Release Date: Dec 16, 2004
Image Credits: NASA, ESA, C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University), M. Meixner and P. McCullough (STScI)
The images available at Posternauts.com have been curated from the thousands of photographs taken and collected by NASA/JPL, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other space agencies. We are able to offer these images to you in print form because they are available in the public domain. If you are interested in viewing even more images and exploring the science and discoveries they represent, you will enjoy visiting the following web pages for more.
HubbleSite - News, Images and more from the Hubble Space Telescope
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Space Mission and Science news, Videos, and Images
SpaceX - Exciting images of launches, vehicles, and more.
European Space Agency - Dedicated to the exploration of Space since 1975
European Southern Observatory - Home of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in northern Chile.
James Webb Space Telescope - Follow the progress of this project still in development
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