Image Credit: ESO

This stunning little creation is Abell 33; a planetary nebula that can be found about 2,500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Hydra.

The ESO's "Very Large  Telescope"captured this image, allowing us to see into the future in a way, when our Sun meets a similar fate. Only, Abell 33 is a bit unusual. From this vantage point, the nebula appears perfectly circular. In reality, the round shape is merely an optical illusion. It would look much different from closer in.

Speaking of illusions, the nebula's shape isn't the only thing that is a bit misleading. The incredibly bright star located on the rim (near the bottom, right) doesn't belong to the nebula itself. Rather, it's a foreground star, dubbed HD 83535, that lies between Abell 33 and Earth. The alignment gives the region a special dramatic flair, doesn't it?

Finally, the central progenitor star - now within the first stage of becoming a white-dwarf, is pictured directly in the center. Despite technically being dead already, the star is still more luminous than the Sun is.

See a larger image here.


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