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.
February 15, 1997
Explanation: What happens when a star runs out of nuclear fuel? The center condenses into a white dwarf while the outer atmospheric layers are expelled into space and appear as a planetary nebula. This particular planetary nebula, designated Shapley 1 after the famous astronomer Harlow Shapley, has a very apparent annular ring like structure. Although some of these nebula appear like planets on the sky (hence their name), they actually surround stars far outside our Solar System.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.