Snapping a shot of a rather nondescript corner of the sky, I stumbled across a glowing gem in a sea of black. This red giant star – in it’s final death stage is the Ring Nebula (M57). From 2,300 light-years away, the star can be seen blowing off ionized gas into space, creating a spectacular orange and blue halo.
Cropping into the photo you can almost spot the source star.
Gazing slightly away from M57 is a cloud of glowing gas known as the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) – another planetary nebula. Having blown off most of the gas, this star is now a white dwarf (small cool star), in the centre of the nebula. Can you spot it?