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NGC 5189
Imaged by Martin S. Ferlito
Gstar-EX Integrating Video Camera
8" Schmidt-Cassegrain on Vixen GP Mount, Stepper Driven.

NGC 5189 (Gum 47, IC 4274, nicknamed Spiral Planetary Nebula) is a planetary nebula in the constellation Musca. It was discovered by John Herschel in 1835. Seen through the telescope it seems to have an S shape, reminiscent of a barred spiral galaxy. NGC 5189 is symmetrical and is estimated to be 3,000 light years away from Earth. After a Sun-like star can no longer support fusion in its core, the center condenses into a white dwarf while the outer atmospheric layers are expelled into space and appear as a planetary nebula. This particular planetary nebula has a quite strange and chaotic structure. The inner part of this nebula contains an unusual expanding ring of gas that we see nearly edge-on. The exact mechanism that expels the planetary nebula gas is a current topic of astronomical speculation and research.

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