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NGC 6543: The Cat's Eye Nebula Redux (Also known as the Cat's Eye, this planetary nebula is located about 3,000 light years from Earth.)

Description: A composite image of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) and Hubble Space Telescope (red and purple) of NGC 6543 shows a phase that Sun-like stars undergo at the end of their lives. Material from the outer layers of the star in the Cat's Eye is flying away at about 4 million miles per hour. A hot core is left behind that eventually collapses to become a white dwarf star. The Chandra data reveal that the central star in NGC 6543 is surrounded by a cloud of multi-million-degree gas.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2008


Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/catseye/


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI


Accession number: catseye08

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Taken on September 30, 2008