The easily visible central ring of Ring Nebula
(M57) is about one light-year across, but this remarkably deep
exposure—a collaborative effort combining data from three different
large telescopes—explores the looping filaments of glowing gas
extending much farther from the nebula's central star.
This composite image includes a narrowband hydrogen image
(8.2-meter Subaru Telescope), a visible-light image (Hubble Space
Telescope), and an infrared-light image (Large Binocular Telescope).
The three images were combined by Robert Gendler. In this
well-studied example of a planetary nebula, the glowing gaseous
shroud represents outer layers expelled from a dying, sun-like star.
The Ring Nebula is about 2,000 light-years away toward the musical