Two views of a Nebula

The top composite image is a view of the colorful Helix Nebula taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The object is so large that both telescopes were needed to capture a complete view. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut as seen from Earth. But looks can be deceiving. The bottom illustration shows how the Helix would appear if viewed from the side. In this illustration, the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other. The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, sun-like star. The illustration was taken from a three-dimensional model of the Helix. A team of astronomers constructed the model, based on observations from several ground- and space-based observatories, including the Hubble telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.


NASA, ESA, C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University), and M. Meixner, P. McCullough, and G. Bacon ( Space Telescope Science Institute


About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:16 December 2004, 16:00
Size:2400 x 3000 px

About the Object

Name:Helix Nebula, IRAS 22267-2102, NGC 7293
Type:Milky Way : Nebula : Type : Planetary
Distance:700 light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
675.7 KB
Screensize JPEG
271.6 KB

Colours & filters

656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
502 nm Hubble Space Telescope

Notes: The top image contains additional data captured by the Mosaic II Camera on the 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO).

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