Credit: NASA, JPL, Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs., U. Arizona).

This is the Helix Nebula (Also known as NGC 7293 or colloquially as the Eye of God), it is about 650 light-years from Earth and is located in the constellation Aquarius.


The Helix Nebula in a planetary nebula and is one of the closest and brightest such nebulae to Earth – it is estimated to be about 11,000 years old. This represents an important stage in evolution and in about 5-billion years, our own Sun can be expected to form a nebula very similar to this.


This image is a false-color composite of a survey done by two different telescopes, GALEX (which is colored blue) and Spitze (which is colored yellow); in addition, NASA’s WISE telescope provided some of the background space.

At the center of the nebula, you can see a tiny white dot. This is the white dwarf left behind after the star ejected its outer shell. Good luck finding it though, I count about a dozen little dots near the center visible from this particular angle.

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