690 light-years

The Helix is a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous envelope expelled by a dying, Sun-like star. The Helix resembles a simple doughnut shape as seen from Earth, but new evidence suggests that the Helix consists of two gaseous disks nearly perpendicular to each other. This complex structure may be the result of an unseen companion star. This view was created by combing different images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

Credit: NASA / ESA / C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University) / M. Meixner and P. McCullough (STScI).

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