Detail View: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection: NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary Nebula

Title: 
NGC 4361: Galaxy Shaped Planetary Nebula
Explanation: 
Glowing in the red light emitted by hydrogen atoms [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/lib/glossary.html#hydrogen ], the planetary nebula [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap950727.html ] NGC 4361 [ http://crux.astr.ua.edu/goodies/misc_images/ngc4361h.html ] is pictured above. The nebula itself is formed by the outer layers of gas shrugged off by the central star visible in the image. The star's nuclear fuel almost exhausted, it is cooling and shrinking - entering the white dwarf [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap950910.html ] phase of its life. The curved tendrils of emission reaching out from the body of the nebula have a shape reminiscent of the arms of of a spiral galaxy [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap950912.html ].
Credit and Copyright: 
Bill Keel, U. Alabama [ http://crux.astr.ua.edu/AstroHome.html ]
facet_where: 
Alabama
facet_what: 
Crux
original url: 
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap951229.html
UID: 
SPD-APOD-ap951229