William Anthony Photography

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The Helix Nebula

The Helix Nebula

The Helix Nebula (NGC7293) is located in the constellation Aquarius, and is estimated to be 700 light years away. The nebula is thought to be around 10,000 years old. The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula. These nebula form during the red giant phase of low to medium mass stars. During this phase, the outer layers of the star are expelled via pulsations and strong stellar winds. This leaves a smaller star whose strong ultraviolet radiation ionizes the nebula making it glow. This image was shot from the pristine dark skies of Cherry Springs PA. A close look of the image shows the hot blue central star illuminating the nebula.

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