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Space A Rare Celestial Diamond Ring Captured by ESO Telescope

A Rare Celestial Diamond Ring Captured by ESO Telescope

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First Posted: Apr 10, 2014 08:21 AM EDT
A Rare Celestial Diamond Ring Captured by ESO Telescope
A Rare Celestial Diamond Ring Captured by ESO Telescope (Photo : European Southern Observatory )

A cosmic diamond! That is exactly what a powerful telescope in Chile captured.  The stunning image of a planetary nebula released by the European Southern Observatory (ESCO) creates an illusion of a diamond ring.

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Using ESO's Very Large Telescope located in Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers have captured a breathtaking image of a planetary nebula PN A66 33, commonly known as Abell 33. 

The celestial diamond seen above was created when the dying star shed out its outer layers; a dazzling blue bubble luckily aligned itself with a star in the foreground. This perfect alignment created an illusion of a diamond engagement ring.  Being unusually symmetrical the cosmic gem almost appears circular in the vast sky.

Most stars with a mass similar to that of our Sun generally wither into small, dense white dwarfs or hot bodies that gradually cool down over billions of years. As they enter into their death throes they throw their atmosphere into space and form a planetary nebula, described as the colorful bright clouds of gas enveloped around the stellar remains.

The ESO released the image of the round planetary nebula Abell 33 that is located 2500 light-years away from Earth.  It is very rare to find perfectly rounded celestial objects.

"The strikingly bright star located along the rim of the nebula creates a beautiful illusion in this VLT image. This is just a chance alignment - the star, named HD 83535, lies in the foreground of the nebula, between Earth and Abell 33, in just the right place to make this view even more beautiful. Together, HD 83535 and Abell 33 create a sparkling diamond ring," ESO explains.

This planetary nebula is one of the 86 objects to be includedin astronomer Geroge Abell's 1966 Abell Catalogue of Planetary Nebulae.

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