Astronomy Picture of the Day
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December 29, 1995
NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary Nebula
Credit: Bill Keel,
Glowing in the red light emitted by
hydrogen atoms, the
NGC 4361 is pictured above. The nebula itself is formed by the outer
layers of gas shrugged off by the central star visible in the image. The
star's nuclear fuel almost exhausted, it is cooling and
shrinking - entering the
white dwarf phase of its life.
The curved tendrils of emission reaching
out from the body of the nebula have a shape reminiscent of the arms of
of a spiral galaxy.
Tomorrow's picture: LMC X-1: A Black Hole Candidate
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