Our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor above the desert observatory at La Silla in Chile.
The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.
(PHOTO BY BABAK TAFRESHI)
A Cosmic Easter Egg
In this composite image, visible-light observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are combined with infrared data from the ground-based Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona to assemble a dramatic view of the well-known Ring Nebula.
Called a planetary nebula, the Ring Nebula is the glowing remains of a Sun-like star. It is about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra and measures roughly one light-year across.
Most Sun-like stars become planetary nebulae at the end of their lives. Once a star consumes all of its hydrogen, the nuclear fuel that makes it shine, it expands to a red giant. The bloated star then expels its outer layers, exposing its hot core. Ultraviolet radiation from the core illuminates the discarded material, making it glow. The smoldering core, called a white dwarf, is the tiny white dot in the center of the Ring Nebula.
(Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University)
Southern Cross and Milky Way Above Easter Island
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