Donut Nebula
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Donut Nebula?

May 27, 2013
This new image shows the dramatic shape and color of the Ring Nebula, otherwise known as Messier 57.

From Earth’s perspective, the nebula looks like a simple elliptical shape with a shaggy boundary. However, new observations combining existing ground-based data with new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope data show that the nebula is shaped like a distorted donut. This donut has a rugby-ball-shaped region of lower-density material slotted into in its central “gap”, stretching towards and away from us.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Robert O’Dell (Vanderbilt University)

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