Washington: The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this stunning image of the spectacularly symmetrical planetary nebula Hen 2-437 showing up in a magnificent icy blue hue.
Hen 2-437 is a planetary nebula in the constellation Vulpecula, one of around 3,000 such objects known to reside within the Milky Way.
It is said that this image of Hen 2-437 includes optical and infrared observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
The object was first identified in 1946 by Rudolph Minkowski, who later also discovered the famous and equally beautiful M2-9 (otherwise known as the Twin Jet Nebula).
Hen 2-437 was added to a catalog of planetary nebula over two decades later by astronomer and NASA astronaut Karl Gordon Henize.
Planetary nebulae such as Hen 2-437 form when an aging low-mass star — such as the sun — reaches the final stages of life.
As shown by its remarkably beautiful appearance, Hen 2-437 is a bipolar nebula — the material ejected by the dying star has streamed out into space to create the two icy blue lobes pictured here.