Spitzer Celebrates Fourth Anniversary with Celestial Fireworks
Sig07 016

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ J. Hora (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

Observation • August 24th, 2007 • sig07-016


A newly expanded image of the Helix nebula lends a festive touch to the fourth anniversary of the launch of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This spectacular object, a dying star unraveling into space, is a favorite of amateur and professional astronomers alike. Spitzer has mapped the expansive outer structure of the six-light-year-wide nebula, and probed the inner region around the central dead star to reveal what appears to be a planetary system that survived the star's chaotic death throes.

About the Object

Helix NebulaNGC 7293
Nebula > Type > Planetary
650 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =22h 29m 40.5s
Dec = -20° 49' 49.7"
Field of View
29.1 x 27.1 arcminutes
North is 64.9° right of vertical