NGC 7009

NGC 7009, the Saturn Nebula, is a planetary nebula located about 1,400 light years away towards the constellation Aquarius. It formed from a dying low mass star, which expelled its outer layers once nuclear fusion in its core ceased. These layers of gas formed an envelope around the star, now a white dwarf.

There is some evidence that the first layers of gas to be ejected formed the outer, oval ring around the star. Now, this layer channels stellar winds from the central star into jets that create the ansae, or handles, of lower density gas on either end of the nebula. Much remains unknown about the formation of structures like NGC 7009. This image shows the object in X-ray, showing how stellar winds from the relatively young white dwarf star collide with the surrounding gas shells, causing strong X-ray emissions.

Image from National Geographic, information from NASA, ESA, and HubbleSite.