Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wings: Planetary nebula NGC 6881 in the constellation of Cygnus

Planetary nebula NGC 6881 lies in the constellation of Cygnus. Its "wings" spread across about one light-year. 

A dying star about 60% of the mass of the sun lies at the core of the NGC 6881. 

A planetary nebula arises when a dying star, a red giant, flings off its outer layers. 

Planetary nebulas were misnamed by early discoverers, who thought the objects were giant planets. 

Credit: ESA/NASA Hubble

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