Helix

About this video
Duration: 1 minute

Stars like our Sun end their lives by casting off their outer layers, briefly forming a spectacular "planetary nebula" like the Helix Nebula. In visible light, we see the glow of hot gases illuminated by a hot, compact core, known as a "white dwarf." Shifting into the near-infrared reveals the glow of more complex molecules formed in the outer shell. The mid-infrared glow highlights the warm (bright red) dust surrounding the white dwarf.

Optical: Hot gas ejected from a dying star glows.

Near-Infrared: Near-infrared light reveals cooler material.

Mid-far-Infrared: Warm dust is identified in mid-infrared light.

Infrared-Ultraviolet: The ultraviolet light traces the hot gas being expelled from the dying star.


Tags
Frame Sets, HD Video, Infrared Universe, Multiwavelength, Nebulae, Planetary Nebulae, Scientific Visualizations, Spitzer, UHD Video

Credits

Optical: NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), and T.A. Rector (NRAO); Near-infrared: ESO, VISTA, J. Emerson. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit; Mid-far-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech, K. Su (Univ. of Arizona); Ultraviolet: NASANASA, JPL-Caltech.

Publication: November 12, 2018