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“The Cat's Eye Nebula in Optical and X-ray”

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“To some it looks like a cat's eye. To others, perhaps like a giant cosmic conch shell. It is actually one of the brightest and most highly detailed planetary nebula known, composed of gas expelled in the brief yet glorious phase near the end of life of a Sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the outer circular concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. The formation of the beautiful, complex-yet-symmetric inner structures, however, is not well understood. The featured image is a composite of a digitally sharpened Hubble Space Telescope image with X-ray light captured by the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The exquisite floating space statue spans over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into this Cat's Eye, humanity may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.”

Courtesy of Astronomy Picture of the Day
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Comments

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Bill_I_Am

You're most welcome!

Wonderful post, thanks so much.

Bill_I_Am

They both work!

Spectacular--or should I say stellar!?

Bill_I_Am

I wondered if you'd just gotten sick of it all and decided to take a break. It happens.

Isaly2

It's nice to be missed Bill!

Bill_I_Am

Indeed! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

mereagle

Exquisite, just floating in space, wonderful puzzle to solve.

Bill_I_Am

You're welcome, Cyndi. I wondered where you'd been. Computer troubles? That's no fun.

Bill_I_Am

Isn't that amazing? You're welcome, Janet.

Isaly2

Thanks for this amazing photo of the cat's eye nebula. Just got my computer back after more than a week so I will be spending several days trying to catch up!

Oputz

Thanks Bill, that's magical!

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