MyCn18 "Etched Hourglass" (2013)

This nebula is insanely popular. Probably because it’s a giant fracking eyeball in space, staring at us. Ok, it’s not actually an eyeball, but it sure looks like one. The oddly off center star completes the effect by looking like the specular reflection on a glistening eyeball.

Speaking of that off center star, the fact that it’s off center is very perplexing. This APOD from 1996 highlights this mystery.

What I want to know is whether or not that central star is actually a foreground star that just happens to be lined up nearly with the center of the nebula, improbable as that is. The central structure reminds me of the central cloud of Red Spider. For that nebula, the parent star is completely obscured behind the dense material at the center. If I figure it out I’ll update this text.

Red: hst_06221_01_wfpc2_f658n_pc_sci
Green: hst_06221_01_wfpc2_f656n_pc_sci
Blue: hst_06221_01_wfpc2_f502n_pc_01_sci + hst_06221_01_wfpc2_f502n_pc_02_sci

North is NOT up

Copyright information:
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.