December 7, 2021

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Distant star drowns its partner in gas, forming gorgeous ‘Necklace Nebula’

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Two stars, bound together in orbital matrimony, are slowly ripping each other apart. And, like many relationship squabbles, this stellar spat ends with jewelry.

Meet the Necklace Nebula (known less sexily as PN G054.203.4). This planetary nebula is located about 15,000 light-years from Earth, inside the Sagitta constellation in the northern sky. To telescopes like NASA’s Hubble, the nebula looks like an emerald oval, ringed with sparkling clusters of jewel-like gas. A pair of binary stars forms a bright speck at the center.

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