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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Planetary Nebula M2-9 as imaged by Gemini North with AO

Planetary Nebula M2-9 as imaged by Gemini North with AO
Click on the image to enlarge

Color composite adaptive optics image of the planetary nebula M2-9 using the ALTAIR adaptive optics system on Gemini North. This image reveals remarkable details in the dynamic gas outflows from a dying star. It is thought that our Sun might meet a similar fate in 4-5 billion years once its hydrogen nuclear fuel becomes scarce and instabilities expel gas into space. The concentric shells of gas are still a mystery to astronomers and these data will help to understand the complexities surrounding this beautiful object.
Credit: Gemini Observatory

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