NGC 6543

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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NGC 6543: Also known as the Cat's Eye, this planetary nebula is located about 3,000 light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI)

Caption: A composite image of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) and Hubble Space Telescope (red and purple) of NGC 6543 shows a phase that Sun-like stars undergo at the end of their lives. Material from the outer layers of the star in the Cat's Eye is flying away at about 4 million miles per hour. A hot core is left behind that eventually collapses to become a white dwarf star. The Chandra data reveal that the central star in NGC 6543 is surrounded by a cloud of multi-million-degree gas.

Scale: Image is 1.2 arcmin across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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