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.")
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.