Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Messier 57 - The Ring Nebula

New view of the Ring Nebula (also known as Messier 57 or NGC 6720) by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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 doughnut. This doughnut has a rugby-ball-shaped region of lower-density material slotted into in its central ‘gap’, stretching towards and away from us.

Photo credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Robert O'Dell (Vanderbilt University)

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