New infrared photos reveal full glory of Helix Nebula, the ‘Eye of God’

The European Southern Observatory used its VISTA telescope in Chile to capture a view of the planetary nebula that is usually invisible to the human eye. The telescope's sensors are extremely sensitive to infrared light, which allowed it to pick up previously unknown strands of cold, thinly-spread gas.

This gas is mostly hidden in pictures taken in visible light, obscured by the bright blue glare of ultraviolet light from the Helix's hot central star. VISTA's images, however, reveal the nebula's delicate structure.

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