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Helix Nebula's Gas Ring

This cropped version of the Helix Nebula mosaic shows cometary-filaments embedded along a portion of the inner rim of the nebula's red and blue gas ring. At a distance of 650 light-years, the Helix is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth. The composite picture is a seamless blend of ultra-sharp NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys images combined with the wide view of the Mosaic Camera on the National Science Foundation's 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, near Tucson, Ariz.



Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) assembled the images into a mosaic. The mosaic was blended with a wider photograph taken by the Mosaic Camera.


Credit: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO)

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