Published on January 19th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Helix Nebula Photographed Using Telescope In Chile [Pic]
The marvels of space continue to amaze us as scientists in what appears to be daily events bring us beautiful photographs from our galaxy and beyond and this week is no different with a telescope in Chile photographing the Helix Nebula.
Located nearly 700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius the picture was snapped by the European Southern Observatory’s Vista telescope.
According to the HuffingtonPost:
“Helix is a planetary nebula, a strange object that forms when a star like our sun exhausts its hydrogen fuel. The star’s outer layers expand and cool, creating a huge envelope of dust and gas. Radiation flowing from the dying star ionizes this envelope, causing it to glow.”
It should be noted that the name “planetary nebula” doesn’t mean planets are found within the system but rather that the nebula resembles a giant planet when examined through early, less advanced telescopes.
According to scientists the heart of the Helix Nebula is evolving into a white dwarf.
The beautiful look of the Helix Nebula is caused by dust, ionized material and molecular gas all arranged into a flower-like pattern.
The nebula is also large with a main ring that extends 2 light-years across, that would be almost half the distance from our sun to the closest star.
As you will notice the Vista image also shows a wide variety of stars and galaxies in the background of the Helix Nebula.