Hubble snapped a colorful planetary Nebula ringed by a halo of glowing gas

A halo of glowing gas over 4.5 light-years across surrounds the nebula's brighter inner ring.


NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured and shared the imaged of a planetary nebula called NGC 2438 that formed after the death of a Sun-like star.

Located in the southern constellation of Puppis, the Nebula is surrounded by a halo of glowing gas over 4.5 light-years across. The reason behind the glow of its halo is the ionizing radiation of the central white dwarf.

NASA reported, “The Nebula formed after its medium-sized star would have expelled its outer layers of gas into space as it died, leaving behind a white-dwarf core.”

Many rounds or nearly round planetary nebulae display these halo structures, and astronomers have been investigating how they evolve. NGC 2438 is one such Nebula.

NGC 243
The colorful planetary nebula, NGC 2438, appears to lie on the outskirts of the open star cluster, M46 (NGC 2437). The nebula is actually in the foreground between us and the star cluster. Credits: NASA, ESA, K. Knoll (NASA Goddard), S. Öttl (Leopold Franzens Universität Innsbruck), et. al., and DSS; Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

In this color-filled image, blue represents oxygen (O III), green is hydrogen (H-alpha), orange is nitrogen (N II), and red is sulfur (S II).

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