<< Back to
Hubble Gallery
A Cosmic Holiday Ornament, Hubble-Style
A Cosmic Holiday Ornament, Hubble-Style

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have photographed a festive-looking nearby planetary nebula called NGC 5189. The intricate structure of this bright gaseous nebula resembles a glass-blown holiday ornament with a glowing ribbon entwined.

Planetary nebulae represent the final brief stage in the life of a medium-sized star like our Sun. While consuming the last of the fuel in its core, the dying star expels a large portion of its outer envelope. This material then becomes heated by the radiation from the stellar remnant and radiates, producing glowing clouds of gas that can show complex structures.

A spectacular example of this beautiful complexity is seen in the nebula's bluish lobes, located above and below the central region. The nebula is made up mostly of clumps and strings of gas.

This image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.

Image downloads (JPG):
For screen:
Small: Medium: Large:
35.4KB 110.0KB 491.7KB
WARNING: For download
only. This file is too big to
be viewed in most browsers.
Video icon
Video downloads:
Largest 1280 x 720 Large 640 x 360 Small 320 x 180
Windows Media 27.88MB 14.13MB 8.45MB
Quicktime 27.70MB 13.84MB 5.33MB

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)