#HubbleClassic This Hubble image of the Hourglass Nebula (MyCn18) captures the slow death of a Sun-like star roughly 8,000 light-years away. Released 22 years ago today, Hubble’s image revealed fine details in this planetary nebula that astronomers hadn’t seen before. In previous ground-based images, MyCn18 appeared to be a pair of large outer rings with a smaller central one, but Hubble’s view confirmed the nebula was shaped like an hourglass with an intricate pattern of "etchings" in its walls. A pair of intersecting rings in the central region might be the rims of a smaller hourglass. What appears as a bright elliptical ring in the center is seen on closer inspection to be a potato-shaped structure with an axis that’s dramatically different from that of the larger hourglass. And the hot central star, thought to produce and illuminate the nebula, appears oddly off center.
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