The Ring Nebula from Webb

The Ring Nebula (M57) from Webb Space Telescope, is much more complicated than it appears through a small telescope.

The easily visible central ring of the Ring Nebula (M57) is about one light-year across, but this remarkable exposure by the James Webb Space Telescope explores this popular nebula with deep exposure to infrared light.

Strings of gas, like eyelashes around a cosmic eye, become evident around the Ring in this digitally enhanced featured image in assigned colors. These long filaments may be caused by the shadowing of knots of dense gas in the ring from energetic light emitted within.

The Ring Nebula is an elongated planetary nebula, a type of gas cloud created when a Sun-like star evolves to throw off its outer atmosphere to become a white dwarf star. The central oval in the Ring Nebula lies about 2,500 light-years away toward the musical constellation Lyra.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, JWST; Processing: Zi Yang Kong