What is the Southern Ring of Nebula and what is it made of? I'm interested in space and science. I'm in the fourth grade, and I want to be a scientist when I grow up. Thanks

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The Southern Ring Nebula is in the constellation Vela, and is visible in the southern hemisphere.  The nebula is an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star.  This nebula is also known as the "Eight-Burst" Nebula because it appears to be a figure-8 when seen through amateur telescopes.

The name "planetary nebula" refers only to the round shape that many of these objects show when examined through a small telescope. In reality, these nebulae have little or nothing to do with planets, but are instead huge shells of gas ejected by stars as they near the ends of their lifetimes.  Planetary nebulae are formed as low-mass stars, like our Sun, reach the end of their lives and lose their outer layers. The bright source within the nebula is the hot central star, originally the core of the dying star, which will eventually become a white dwarf and cool off over billions of years.  When you look at a picture of the Southern Ring Nebula, it's actually the dim star, not the bright one, near the center that created this odd but beautiful nebula. 

NGC 3132 is nearly half a light year in diameter, and at a distance of about 2,000 light-years is one of the nearest known planetary nebulae. The gases are expanding away from the central star at a speed of 9 miles per second.

astrosonuthird's profile pic

astrosonuthird | Student, Kindergarten | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

The southern ring nebula is visible in a clear night sky on the southern hemisphere. I saw it yesterday as the sky was as clear as milk. The nebula is in the constellation of Vela.

 

I have a very costly telescope. And I saw that the Eight Burst Nebula or the southern ring nebula is the shape of 8.

 

It is made up of dust particles, many gasses like hydrogen, helium etc which a star requires to get birth in the nebula.

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