Astronomy Picture of the Week – Helix Nebula

This eerie picture captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293. It is located 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf is the result of the final stages in the evolution of a sun-like star. Dust particles are what makes this cosmic eye look red.

Helix nebulaImage Credit & Copyright: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kate Su (Steward Obs., U. Arizona), et al.