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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is an image of the Ring Nebula, looking as if from the end of a barrel.
Click on image for full size
Hubble Space Telescope image courtesy of STScI

Hubble Adds a New Dimension to Nebula
News story originally written on January 7, 1999

Scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at the Ring Nebula (also known as M57). The nebula gets its name from its shape--it looks like a ring. The HST pictures show that the nebula is actually shaped like a cylinder.

The nebula formed from gas escaping from a dying star. The gas first formed a band around the middle of the star, which slowed down other gas that was escaping. The gas then filled in the open areas above and below the middle band. That's how the nebula got its cylinder shape.

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