The Ring Nebula at optical wavelengths as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, with Herschel data acquired with SPIRE and PACS over a wavelength range of 51–672 micrometers for the region identified. The spectra have been cropped and the scales stretched in order to show the OH+ emission, a molecular ion important for the formation of water. ESA’s Herschel space observatory is the first to detect this molecule in planetary nebulas – the product of dying Sun-like stars.
For more information, see New Molecules Around Old Stars.
Image credit: Hubble image: NASA/ESA/C. Robert O’Dell (Vanderbilt University) Herschel data: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE/ HerPlaNS survey/I. Aleman et al.