At only 3,000 light years away, the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) shines brightly in multiple wavelengths.  One of the more documented planetary nebulae, the Cat’s Eye once had a star located in its center, but this star has since released its outer layers of gas and plasma and provides us with this extraordinary display of colors. The star no longer exists and will remain as a white dwarf until its stored heat of billions of years lasts no more. Furthermore, it is worth noting that there is still some mystery abound regarding the structure of this planetary nebula. Scientists know a star has died, but believe this star was part of a binary system. The signs are there but this second star has yet to be detected. There are at least 11 concentric rings/shells surrounding the center of this planetary nebula, all separated by 1,500 intervals of mass release. 1,000 years ago, this pattern stopped and has continued to perplex Astronomers since.

At only 3,000 light years away, the Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) shines brightly in multiple wavelengths.  One of the more documented planetary nebulae, the Cat’s Eye once had a star located in its center, but this star has since released its outer layers of gas and plasma and provides us with this extraordinary display of colors. The star no longer exists and will remain as a white dwarf until its stored heat of billions of years lasts no more. Furthermore, it is worth noting that there is still some mystery abound regarding the structure of this planetary nebula. Scientists know a star has died, but believe this star was part of a binary system. The signs are there but this second star has yet to be detected. There are at least 11 concentric rings/shells surrounding the center of this planetary nebula, all separated by 1,500 intervals of mass release. 1,000 years ago, this pattern stopped and has continued to perplex Astronomers since.

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Posted on Monday, 18 June
Tagged as: science astronomy space planetary nebula cat's eye nebula ngc 6543
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