Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

May 18, 1998
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NGC 6369: A Donut Shaped Nebula
Credit: H. Bond (STSci), R. Ciardullo (PSU), WFPC2, HST, NASA

Explanation: Why isn't the star in the center of the nebula? NGC 6369 appears to be a fairly ordinary planetary nebula. It can be seen with a good telescope in the constellation of Ophiuchus. The gas expelled by the central star is bunched in the shape of a donut or cylinder. During the planetary nebula phase, the central star sheds its outer atmosphere as it is evolving to become a white dwarf star. The above image was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. A closer look at NGC 6369 indicates that the central star is closer to a dimmer edge of the nebula than to the opposing brighter edge.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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