NASA have released a fantastically detailed image of the Necklace Nebula, a planetary nebula.
The nebula is formed around a bright ring which measures 12 trillion miles across and is populated with bright formations of gas pockets that look almost like valuable diamonds in the image. These formations glow intensely brightly due to the absorption of ultraviolet light which emits from the stars in the center region.
The NASA site says “A pair of stars orbiting close together produced the nebula, also called PN G054.2-03.4. About 10,000 years ago one of the aging stars ballooned to the point where it engulfed its companion star. The smaller star continued orbiting inside its larger companion, increasing the giant’s rotation rate.”
They add “The Necklace Nebula is located 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagitta. In this composite image, taken on July 2, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured the glow of hydrogen (blue), oxygen (green), and nitrogen (red).”
Kitguru says: A stunning image which certainly shows just how small our little planet really is.