The most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula has just been captured by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.
The VLT used data from one of its cameras, the Focal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS), to snap this stellar image.
The nebula – also known by the names Abell 21 and Sharpless 2-274 – is located in the Gemini constellation. It lies about 1500 light-years away, and spans approximately four light-years across.
The fate of our Sun is the same as the star at the heart of this nebula – when it moves out of the red giant phase, the Sun will blast its outer layers into space which will form a colourful cloud reminiscent of the Medusa Nebula.
Originally published by Cosmos as Most detailed image ever of the Medusa Nebula
Megan Toomey is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.