300 light-years

The Ant Nebula shows the typical bipolar shape of a planetary nebula when seen from the side. Planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets; they just resembled planets when seen through early telescopes. Here a Sun-like star has shed material from its outer layers until its core is exposed, releasing powerful UV light that makes the gas glow. To obtain this view, astronomers used two space-based instruments - the Hubble Space Telescope (green and red) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue).

Credit: Image made in x-ray light by J. Kastner et al. for NASA / CXC / RIT, and in visible light by B. Ballick for NASA / STScI / U. Washington.