Image of the Day: The Dragon’s Eye

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NGC 6826's eye-of-demon appearance is heightened by two sets of blood-red "fliers" that lie horizontally across the image. The surrounding faint green "white" of the eye is believed to be gas that made up almost half of the star's mass for most of its life. The hot remnant star (in the center of the green oval), one of the brightest stars in any planetary nebula, drives a fast wind into older material, forming a hot interior bubble which pushes the older gas ahead of it to form a bright rim. NGC 6826 is 2,200 light- years away in the constellation Cygnus.

The Hubble telescope observation was taken Jan. 27, 1996 with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.

Image Credits: Bruce Balick (University of Washington), Jason Alexander (University of Washington), Arsen Hajian (U.S. Naval Observatory), Yervant Terzian (Cornell University), Mario Perinotto (University of Florence, Italy), Patrizio Patriarchi (Arcetri Observatory, Italy) and NASA

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