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Cat’s Eye Hubble Remix October 12, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Cat's Eye Nebula

NASA, MAST, STScI, AURA and Vicent Peris (OAUV/PTeam)


Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat’s Eye Nebula lies 3,000 light-years from Earth. The Cat’s Eye (NGC 6543) represents a brief, yet glorious, phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula’s dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood.

Here, Hubble Space Telescope archival image data have been reprocessed to create another look at the cosmic cat’s eye. Compared to well-known Hubble pictures, the alternative processing strives to sharpen and improve the visibility of details in light and dark areas of the nebula and also applies a more complex color palette. Of course, gazing into the Cat’s Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution … in about 5 billion years.

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