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Taken by Prosper Henry, 1885. This photograph of the Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra shows but a three-degree section of the firmament, 1,956 light-years from earth. Once a star similar to our own sun, the nebula was formed when the star exploded, releasing gasses from its outer shell into space.
Witch's Broom Nebula: The Witch's Broom Nebula is also part of the famous Veil Nebula complex, this being the western portion. The entire complex is the remnant of a powerful supernova explosion which occurred thousands of years ago, sending elements forged in the destroyed stars core into space. The bright star is 52 Cygni.
IRAS 20324: Evaporating Protostar Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and IPHAS Explanation: Will this caterpillar-shaped interstellar cloud one day evolve into a butterfly-shaped nebula? No one is sure. What is sure is that IRAS 20324+4057, on the inside, is contracting to form a new star.