A ‘wedding ring’ in space

An unusually circular, ring of gas aligns behind a star to create a sparkling image

By Christopher Crockett, 08:03 AM April 10, 2014

A new image from the Very Large Telescope in Chile shows what resembles a diamond ring in space.

The ring — which appears blue in the image above — is actually the ghostly outer remnant of a dead star. This field of gas, known as Abell 33, is so big that it would take light three years to pass from one side of it to the other.

A star’s glow comes from the fusion of densely packed atoms. Gravity holds this ball of atoms closely together. At the same time, those fusion reactions try to push the b...

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