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Dying Star Creates Fantasy-like Sculpture of Gas and Dust

09/18/2004 12:00AM

Dying Star Creates Fantasy-like Sculpture of Gas and Dust
In this detailed view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the so-called Cat's Eye Nebula looks like the penetrating eye of the disembodied sorcerer Sauron from the film adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings." The nebula, formally cataloged NGC 6543, is every bit as inscrutable as the J.R.R. Tolkien phantom character. Though the Cat's Eye Nebula was one of the first planetary nebulae to be discovered, it is one of the most complex such nebulae seen in space.

Click here for more images. -Ed.