Ghostly Beauty of a Nebula & White Dwarf

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The incredibly beautiful planetary nebula, NGC 6210, is a complex cloud of gas produced in the dying stages of a star slightly less massive than our Sun., about 6,500 light-years away, in the constellation of Hercules.


In this image, NGC 6210, multiple shells of gas ejected by the dying star are superimposed on one another in different orientations, giving the nebula its odd shape.

This extraordinary image shows the inner region of this planetary nebula in unprecedented detail, where the central star is surrounded by a thin, bluish bubble that has a delicate filamentary structure, superposed onto an asymmetric, reddish gas complex where holes, filaments and pillars are clearly visible.

A star’s life ends when the fuel available to its thermonuclear engine runs out. The estimated lifetime for a Sun-like star is some ten billion years. When the star is about to expire, it becomes unstable and ejects its outer layers, forming a planetary nebula and leaving behind a tiny, but very hot, remnant, known as white dwarf.

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