Helix Nebula

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(Redirected from NGC 7293)
Missing image
Helix_Nebula.jpg
NGC 7293, the Helix Nebula.

The Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) is one of the closest planetary nebulae to Earth. It lies 140 parsecs or 450 light-years from Earth in the Aquarius constellation and has an angular diameter of about 0.5°.

Helix was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding before 1824.

General information

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gases of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are looking down a helix. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce.

Helix lies about 450 light-years away towards the constellation of Aquarius and spans about 2.5 light-years. Recent pictures of Helix are a composite of newly released images from the ACS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope and wide-angle images from the Mosaic Camera on the WIYN 0.9-m Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

The Helix has often been referred to as the Eye of God, in Internet Folklore since about 2003.

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