Planetary Nebula NGC 6818
This Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2image of NGC 6818 shows two distinct layers of gas (with dust): a spherical outer region and a brighter, vase-shaped interior 'bubble.' Astronomers believe that a fast wind - material propelled by radiation from the hot central star - is creating the inner elongated shape. The central star of the planetary nebula appears as a tiny blue dot. The material in the wind is traveling so fast that it smashes through older, slower-moving stellar debris, causing a 'blowout' at both ends of the bubble (lower right and upper left).