Feeds

Stargazers peer into the 'Eye of God'

Helix Nebula poses for ESO 'scope

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, aka (mercifully) ESO, has released an impressive image of the Helix Nebula captured by La Silla Observatory in Chile.

The nebula, lying at around 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius, has quickly been dubbed the "Eye of God", for obvious reasons:

The Helix Nebula. Photo: ESO

ESO explains that the Helix (NGC 7293) is the result of the "final blooming" of a Sun-like star before its "retirement" as a white dwarf.

Gas blown from the star's surface radiates outwards and "shines" under ultraviolet light from its hot progenitor. The photograph, taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the 2.2-metre Max-Planck Society/ESO telescope, shows a central blue-green glow caused by "oxygen atoms shining under effects of the intense ultraviolet radiation of the 120,000°C central star and the hot gas".

ESO elaborates: "Further out from the star... the red colour from hydrogen and nitrogen is more prominent."

A notable feature of the Helix Nebula are the "small blobs, known as 'cometary knots'" boasting "faint tails extending away from the central star" which can be seen around the nebula's blue "iris" (easier to spot in the bigger image here).

ESO explains: "Although they look tiny, each knot is about as large as our Solar System. These knots have been extensively studied, both with the ESO Very Large Telescope and with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, but remain only partially understood."

The Helix Nebula first popped up in "a list of new objects compiled by the German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding in 1824". Its name derives from "the rough corkscrew shape seen in the earlier photographs". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?