Behold NGC 6543, otherwise known as The Cat’s Eye – a planetary nebula revealed here in a stunning false colour image that shows the huge (three light years across) but otherwise faint halo of gaseous material that surrounds it. To wit:

Made with data from the Nordic Optical Telescope in the Canary Islands, the composite picture shows extended emission from the nebula. Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a Sun-like star. Only much more recently however, have some planetaries been found to have halos like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during earlier active episodes in the star’s evolution. While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around 10,000 years, astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portions of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years.

(Image : R. Corradi (Isaac Newton Group), Nordic Optical Telescope)

Previously: The Cat’s Eye


5 thoughts on “Halo Kitty

  1. Slightly Bemused

    This is incredibly beautiful! Thank you for posting this – I do love the astronomical posts

    But given what you say implying that the outer rings are not visible to the normal eye,does this mean we miss potentially terrifying images here at home?

  2. :-Joe

    Ye sure, nice try. poor attempt at a cover-up.. Who are you kiddin’ with that “cat’s eye” excuse?..
    Finally science has cracked the equation of one of the greatest mysterious riddlles of the universe … The ancient theory was right !..

    I don’t know how they got there but it’s definitely Chompsky looking through the BS moderators peephole… Or is it Bodger?…
    – Just like Zeus from Clash of the Titans.. or wait, maybe Smith from the Matrix.?.

    Think about it, where is BS towers and why have you never seen it before?…
    – Now you see, because there is no such place!.. No such place ON THIS PLANET !.. Huh?.. Ye?.

    It’s the proof we needed that they are just toying with us for some kind of experiment… or is it for just some sick, twisted amusement, on a whim?…

    NOOooo… Damn You highly advanced civilisation of space humanoid/extra-terrestrial people,.. Damn You All To Hell!!!…..
    (OR to whatever your highly intelligent equivolent version of space purgatory is?)

    NASA, Elon?… drumpf?.. Winneh Xing Ping?.. save us from the tyranny of our newly discovered BS space overlords!!!… plz?

    :-J –

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