This is an image of the Ring Nebula, looking as if from the end of a
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 have used the Hubble Space Telescope to take a closer look at
the Ring Nebula (also known as M57). The nebula
was discovered over two
hundred years ago but scientists have found something new. It's not
really a ring--it's a cylinder that we see from the end.
"My astronomy books taught me that it was a round sphere of expanding
gas," recalls Howard Bond, an astronomer for the Heritage Project.
The cylinder was formed from material ejected from a dying star. The
material first formed a ring around the star, which slowed down new
material trying to expand. The easiest way for the material to leave was
through the open areas above and below the ring. This continued and
created the cylinder-shape that the nebula has today.
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