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.