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Stars and stellar evolution
Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543)
Half size lp cats eye nebula ngc 6543 2x
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Contents

Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals new details of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen. Understanding how and why planetary nebulae form is made complicated by vast distances and the fixed orientations of these Sun-like stars undergoing their last gasps.

Facts of interest about the image

The lithograph includes text and images of other nebulae, emphasizing that no two are alike.

Classroom activity

Included is an inquiry-based classroom activity that focuses on the image and text.

Description

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals new details of the Cats Eye Nebula, one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen. A planetary nebula is the glowing gas ejected by a star similar in mass to our Sun, during its final stages of evolution. Includes a classroom activity.

PDF
9-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Teachers can use this lithograph as:

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the image side of the lithograph. Ask them to write down any questions they have about the image. When the students are finished, their questions can be used in a variety of ways:


  • Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Have students exchange papers so that each student has someone else's questions. Then have them find the answers to the other students' questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Gather the questions into a list by asking students to volunteer to read their questions while you or another student records them on the board or overhead. Ask students to raise their hands if they had the same or a similar question. Count the number of hands raised and record this number next to the question. Once all the student questions have been added to the list, have students search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they complete that task, ask them to decide if each of their questions was answered completely, answered partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of the questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those that were partially answered, and an "N" for those that were not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions were also completely answered. Encourage students to do further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the back of the lithograph and then write a quiz for the class.

An example of a planetary nebula. Use the inquiry-based classroom activity called "In Search of the Complex Structures of Planetary Nebulae" that is included with the PDF lithograph.

Related materials