The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has caught an amazing picture of NGC 2022. This place is a vast orb of gas in space, cast off by an aging star.

NGC 2022, also known as PK 196-10 1 and IRAS 05393+0903, is a planetary nebula. It lies 8,213 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Orion. It is the brightest nebula in that constellation.

The German-born British astronomer William Herschel discovered it
on December 28, 1785.

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“This type of object is called, somewhat confusingly, a planetary nebula, though it has nothing to do with planets,” said members of the Hubble science team.

“The name derives from the rounded, planet-like appearance of these objects in early telescopes.”

“When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red,” they explained.

“These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space.”

“More than half of such a star’s mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas.”

“At the same time, the star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.”

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