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NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary Nebula
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NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary Nebula
Credit & Copyright: Bill Keel, U. Alabama
Explanation: Glowing in the red light emitted by hydrogen atoms, the planetary nebula NGC 4361 is pictured above. The nebula itself is formed by the outer layers of gas shrugged off by the central star visible in the image. The star's nuclear fuel almost exhausted, it is cooling and shrinking - entering the white dwarf phase of its life. The curved tendrils of emission reaching out from the body of the nebula have a shape reminiscent of the arms of of a spiral galaxy.

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

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