A Video News Release explains how the shapes of planetary nebulae are deceiving. Astronomers combined highly detailed images of the Helix Nebula from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, with images from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. From these observations, they were able to analyze the data and construct a 3-D model from measurements of the Helix Nebula using ground-based optical and radio telescopes to show the speed and direction of the outflows of material from the nebula. The team found surprises in their data that indicate that the Helix's structure is even more perplexing than originally thought.
Publication: December 16, 2004