Credit & Copyright: Josh SmithExplanation: The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its more familiar outlines are seen in the brighter central region of the nebula in this impressive wide-angle view. But the composite image combines many short and long exposures to also reveal an extremely faint outer halo. At an estimated distance of 3,000 light-years, the faint outer halo is over 5 light-years across. Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a sun-like star. More recently, some planetary nebulae are found to have halos like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during earlier episodes in the star's evolution. While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around 10,000 years, astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portions of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years. Visible on the left, some 50 million light-years beyond the watchful planetary nebula, lies spiral galaxy NGC 6552.
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Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Cat's Eye Nebula - planetary nebula - halo
Publications with words: Cat's Eye Nebula - planetary nebula - halo
- M2 9: Wings of a Butterfly Nebula
- The Helix Nebula from Blanco and Hubble
- APOD: 2020 August 14 Á NGC 5189: An Unusually Complex Planetary Nebula
- Bright Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 from Hubble
- Halo of the Cats Eye
- NGC 2392: Double Shelled Planetary Nebula
- MyCn 18: The Engraved Hourglass Planetary Nebula