Astronomy Picture of the Day

Dust and the Helix Nebula

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#99019 by @ 24.02.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Dust and the Helix Nebula


Dust makes this cosmic eye look red.

The eerie Spitzer Space Telescope image
shows infrared
radiation from the well-studied
Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere
700 light-years away in the constellation

The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around
a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent
example of a
, representing the final stages
in the evolution of a sun-like star.

But the Spitzer data show the nebula's central star itself
is immersed in a surprisingly bright infrared glow.

suggest the glow is produced by a dust debris

Even though the nebular material was ejected from the star
many thousands of years ago,
the close-in dust could be generated by collisions in
a reservoir of objects analogous to our own solar system's
or cometary
Oort cloud.

Formed in the distant planetary system, the comet-like bodies have
otherwise survived even the dramatic late stages of the star's

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#99020 by @ 24.02.2007 02:09 - nach oben -
sauron is watching you!