Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cat's Eye Nebula

Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat's Eye Nebula lies 3,000 light-years from Earth. The Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a brief, yet glorious, phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood.
Image Credit: NASA, MAST, STScI, AURA and Vicent Peris (OAUV/PTeam)

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