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December 11, 1995
NGC 5189: A Strange Planetary Nebula
Telescope photograph by David Malin
After a Sun-like
star can no longer support
fusion in its core,
the centre condenses into a
white dwarf while the outer atmospheric layers are
expelled into space and appear as a
planetary nebula. This particular
planetary nebula has a quite strange and
chaotic structure. The inner part
of this nebula contains an unusual expanding ring of gas that we see nearly
edge-on. The exact mechanism that expels the
planetary nebula gas is a
current topic of astronomical speculation and research.
Shapley 1: An Annular Planetary Nebula
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