Apr 30, 2008

The Helix Nebula and Knots

Take a look at the picture above! It is a fascinating image of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This image shows tremendous detail of its mysterious gaseous knots. What actually causes these knots? One hypothesis for the fragmentation and evolution of the knots includes existing gas being driven out by a less dense but highly energetic stellar wind of the central evolving star.

The Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293, lies about 700 light-years away towards the constellation of Aquarius. It is a good example of a planetary nebula created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star.


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