Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors
Astrophotography © Brian A. Morganti
The Medusa is an ancient planetary nebula representing a dying star that has shed its outer layers, similar to that of the Dumbbell Nebula and Helix Nebula---but is more distant. It lies between 1,000 and 1,500 light-years away in Gemini. The shell of hydrogen gas, glowing red, is energized by ultraviolet radiation from the ember of the fading central star, appearing as a faint blue star in the center of the nebula on this image. The nebula's name is derived from its delicate filaments. The Medusa Nebula is so faint that it was not even discovered until 1955 by the Yerkes-McDonald survey (named YM 29) and later designated as Abell 21.
Astrophotography - Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors