A new infrared picture reveals the intricate structure of the Helix Nebula, the rust-colored remains of a star like our sun that puffed up as it died and shed its shells of gas and dust into space.
In visible light, fine details in the Helix are largely obscured by dust. But the infrared view—snapped by the European Southern Observatory's VISTA telescope—can pierce this veil to see radiating filaments of cooler gas in the rings as well as a faint halo of thinly spread gas that extends to at least four light-years from the dead star's core.
Space Pictures This Week: Italy Shipwreck, Squashed Moon
The Costa Concordia from above, a rusty dead star, a "fresh" Mars crater, and a sinking moon are among the week's best space pictures.