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Daniel Stern

Location of Photo:

Rio Hurtado, Chile

Date/Time of photo:

Various dates 6/5 - 6/15/23




This is the Helix Nebula, NGC 7293, AKA The Eye of God. It’s a planetary nebula formed by the pinpoint star at the center of the blue field in the middle of the image. The picture offers a view down a trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases that were expelled by that star as it neared the end of its life. Unlike much larger stars that die suddenly in powerful explosions, known as supernovas, this star, similar in size to our Sun, became a white dwarf with a hot stellar core. The core is so hot that it emits intense ultraviolet radiation causing the ejected layers of gas to glow, resulting in the pictured nebula.