<p>The elements oxygen (here tinted blue), hydrogen-alpha (red), and sulfur (green) reveal an outer shell of expanding gases around the Dumbbell Nebula's shining center in an image recently released by the <a href="http://www.noao.edu/">National Optical Astronomy Observatory</a>.</p><p>Though the nebula's light must travel a thousand years to reach Earth, Dumbbell is one of the brightest planetary nebulae in our sky and is visible with a pair of ordinary binoculars.</p><p>(Related: <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110726-soccer-ball-nebula-space-science-stars/">"'Soccer Ball' Nebula Discovered by Amateur Astronomer."</a>)</p>

Dumbbell Nebula

The elements oxygen (here tinted blue), hydrogen-alpha (red), and sulfur (green) reveal an outer shell of expanding gases around the Dumbbell Nebula's shining center in an image recently released by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

Though the nebula's light must travel a thousand years to reach Earth, Dumbbell is one of the brightest planetary nebulae in our sky and is visible with a pair of ordinary binoculars.

(Related: "'Soccer Ball' Nebula Discovered by Amateur Astronomer.")

Image courtesy T.A. Rector and H. Schweiker, UAA/WIYN/NOAO/NSF

Space Pictures This Week: Seagull Nebula, Quasar, More

A roiling quasar, a daredevil capsule, and a wildfire's aftermath are featured in this week's best space pictures.

Read This Next

What drives elephant poaching? It’s not greed
How old are you, really? The answer is written on your face.
The rise of vegan safaris

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet