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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:58 EDT
The Helix Nebula NGC7293
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The Helix Nebula, NGC7293

February 22, 2005
The Helix Nebula, NGC7293

This composite picture is a seamless blend of nine ultra-sharp images from the Hubble Space Telescope325s Advanced Camera for Surveys with the wide-field view of the Mosaic Camera on the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The image shows a fine web of filamentary “bicycle-spoke” features embedded in the colorful red and blue gas ring, which is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth.

One of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made, the picture was released on May 9, 2003, by the Space Telescope Science Institute and NOAO in honor of Astronomy Day 2003, which took place the following day. The radiant 322tie-die323 colors of the planetary nebula, located in the constellation Aquarius about 650 light-years distant from Earth, correspond to glowing oxygen (blue) and hydrogen and nitrogen (red).