Astronomy Picture of the Week – The Cat’s Eye Nebula

This detailed view of the so-called Cat’s Eye Nebula was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The nebula, formally cataloged as NGC 6543, was one of the first planetary nebulae to be discovered and is one of the most complex. Observations suggest the star ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. This created dust shells, each of which contain as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined. These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star.

Cat's Eye NebulaImage Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)