PHOTO: The dark beauty of the Medusa nebula

The Medusa Nebula also known Abell 21 and Sharpless 2-274. Image: ESO

ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured the most detailed image taken of the Medusa Nebula.

As the star at the heart of this nebula made its final transition into retirement, it shed its outer layers into space, forming a colourful cloud.

The image foreshadows the final fate of our Sun which will eventually also become an object similar to this.

The planetary nebula is named after a creature from Greek mythology, the Gorgon Medusa.

The Medusa Nebula spans approximately four light-years and lies at a distance of about 1500 light-years.

Despite its size it is extremely hard to observe.

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