Astronomy Overnight Thread- Helix Nebula

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The Helix Nebula from the VISTA Telescope
Credit: ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson; Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Explanation: Will our Sun look like this one day? The Helix Nebula is one of brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gasses of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are looking down a helix. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. The Helix Nebula, given a technical designation of NGC 7293, lies about 700 light-years away towards the constellation of the Water Bearer (Aquarius) and spans about 2.5 light-years.

Twilight Zone eye stuff there...

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  • http://twitter.com/whatsamatta_u Paul W

    Wow, something bigger and grander than Newt Gingrich.  I wonder if there's a Saul Alinsky Nebula...  
    A reminder that everything going on in this vast Universe ain't about us. ;D