The Helix Nebula, NGC7293


About this image

This composite picture is a seamless blend of nine ultra-sharp images from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys with the wide-field view of the Mosaic Camera on the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The image shows a fine web of filamentary “bicycle-spoke” features embedded in the colorful red and blue gas ring, which is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth.

One of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the picture was released on May 9, 2003, by the Space Telescope Science Institute and NOAO in honor of Astronomy Day 2003, which took place the following day. The radiant “tie-die” colors of the planetary nebula, located in the constellation Aquarius about 650 light-years distant from Earth, correspond to glowing oxygen (blue) and hydrogen and nitrogen (red).

More: nebulae page, planetary nebulae page, stars page.

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

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