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M57: The Ring Nebula

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#89974 by @ 26.06.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
M57: The Ring Nebula


Explanation:
It looked like a ring on the sky.

Hundreds of years ago
astronomers
noticed a nebula with a most unusual shape.

Now known as
M57
or NGC 6720, the gas cloud became popularly known as the
Ring Nebula.

It is now known to be a
planetary nebula,
a gas cloud emitted at the end of a Sun-like star's existence.

As one of the brightest
planetary nebula on the sky,
the Ring Nebula can be seen with a small telescope in the constellation of
Lyra.

The Ring Nebula lies about 4,000
light years away, and is roughly 500 times the diameter of
our Solar System.

In this recent picture by the
Hubble Space Telescope,
dust filaments and globules are visible far from the central star.

This helps indicate that the Ring Nebula is not spherical, but
cylindrical.




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