The 'eye in the sky': Breathtaking new pictures of the Helix Nebula, a dying star 650 light years from Earth
By Mark Prigg
Looking uncannily like a giant eye in the sky, the Helix Nebula has been captured in stunning new detail by a Nasa space telescope.
The breathtaking image shows a dying star is throwing a 'cosmic tantrum'.
It shows the star's dusty outer layers unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core.
Looking uncannily like a giant eye in the sky, the Helix nebula lies 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius.
WHAT IS IT?
The image shows the death of a star in the Helix nebula 650 light years from earth.
It is made from images from three telescopes.
GALEX has picked out the ultraviolet light pouring out of this system, shown throughout the nebula in blue, while Spitzer has snagged the detailed infrared signature of the dust and gas in yellow.
A portion of the extended field beyond the nebula, which was not observed by Spitzer, is from NASA's all-sky Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
The brighter purple circle in the very center is the combined ultraviolet and infrared glow of a dusty disk circling the white dwarf.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The 'Eye In The Sky'
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