Todays pic is a another stunning view of a nebula; my apologies for not posting for the last couple of days but it was one of those unfortunate occasions when real life invaded. M57: The Ring Nebula Except for the rings of Saturn, the Ring Nebula (M57) is probably the most famous celestial band. This planetary nebula's simple, graceful appearance is thought to be due to perspective -- our view from planet Earth looking straight into what is actually a barrel-shaped cloud of gas shrugged off by a dying central star. Astronomers of the Hubble Heritage Project produced this strikingly sharp image from Hubble Space Telescope observations using natural appearing colors to indicate the temperature of the stellar gas shroud. Hot blue gas near the energizing central star gives way to progressively cooler green and yellow gas at greater distances with the coolest red gas along the outer boundary. Dark, elongated structures can also be seen near the nebula's edge. The Ring Nebula is about one light-year across and 2,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Lyra. Credit: H. Bond et al., Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA), NASA A larger version of this piccy can be found here, this is a 631K Jpeg image. Previous Pic Of The Day posts 22nd Mar 03 21st Mar 03 20th Mar 03 19th Mar 03Courtesy of Mark G 18th Mar 03 17th Mar 03 16th Mar 03 Also just a quick apology to all, I'm sorry if it seemed like I was attention seeking the other day in this thread; I'd just been having a few bad days, hopefully things are back on track now though and I'll post every other day or so for now and hopefully go back to regular service at some point in the near future.