Hubble Telescope Reveals True 3D Shape of Ring Nebula (Photos)
The iconic Ring Nebula may seem like just a stunning circle of wispy interstellar gas, but new images from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal it to be more like a deep-space jelly doughnut, scientists say.
The new Hubble telescope images have allowed astronomers to take their most detailed look at the Ring Nebula than ever before, revealing an unprecedented view of the nebula’s three-dimensional structure.
“The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it’s like a jelly doughnut, because it’s filled with material in the middle,” study leader C. Robert O’Dell, an astronomer with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said in a statement today (May 23).
In addition to seeing the new images, astronomers were able to create a video of the Ring Nebula’s structure with the Hubble telescope data.
The Ring Nebula is just over 2,000 light-years from Earth in the Lyra constellation and is 1 light-year (about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers) wide. The nebula formed 4,000 years ago when a dying star several times the mass of our sun ran out of its nuclear fuel.