NASA joins the celebrations of the Fourth of July with "heavenly" fireworks, sharing images of four nebulae

NASA joins the celebrations of the Fourth of July with “heavenly” fireworks, sharing images of four nebulae

NASA has joined the celebration of the Fourth of July, US Independence Day, with some “heavenly” fireworks.

The US space agency shared the images of four beautiful nebulae – Cat’s Eye Nebula, NGC 2392, Helix Nebula and Ring Nebula.

On July 4, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and established the United States. After the declaration, 13 North American colonies were separated from Great Britain.

The fourth of July is celebrated with fireworks because they mean national pride and patriotism. Fireworks have been a part of Independence Day in the United States since the first celebration of the Fourth of July, 1777.


Cat’s Eye Nebula was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The picture shows a bull’s eye pattern with eleven or even more concentric rings around the cat’s eye. Cat’s Eye Nebula appears light along its outer edge because each “ring” is actually the edge of a spherical bubble seen projected into the sky.

Cat's Eye Nebula
Cat’s Eye Nebula

The concentric shells form a layered onion skin structure around the dying star. The star had ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals, according to NASA.

NGC 2392

NGC 2392 was formerly called the “Eskimo Nebula”. Astronomers William Herschel discovered the nebula in 1787. From the ground, NGC 2392 resembles a person’s head surrounded by a parka hood. The Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of the nebula in 2000. It showed gas clouds so complex that they are not fully understood.

NGC 2392
NGC 2392

NGC 2392 is a planetary nebula, and the gas seen in the nebula’s image composed the outer layers of a sun-like star just 10,000 years ago.

Strong winds of particles from the central star inject injections of filaments into the interior. According to NASA, the outer disk of the nebula contains unusual light-year-long orange filaments.


A star expands when it runs out of fuel, and then its outer layer blows off. Then the star’s core shrinks, a phase called a “planetary nebula”. According to astronomers, the sun is likely to turn into a planetary nebula in about five billion years.


NASA created an image of the Helix Nebula using infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (green and red), optical light from Hubble (orange and blue), ultraviolet from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (cyan) and Chandra’s X-rays (appearing white) . The X-rays show the white dwarf star that formed in the center of the nebula. The helix nebula is about four light-years in diameter.

Ring nebulosan

The ring nebula or Messier 57 (M57) is a planetary nebula, and has a small white dot in its center which is the hot core of the star. It’s called a white dwarf. The ring nebula, about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra, is best observed in August.

M57 was discovered by the French astronomer Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779, has an apparent magnitude of 8.8 and can be observed using moderate telescopes.

Ring nebulosan
Ring nebulosan

Astronomers mapped the ring nebula using the Hubble Space Telescope. The blue gas in the middle of the Ring Nebula is a football-shaped structure and penetrates the red, donut-shaped material. The nebula also has dark, irregular knots of dense gas, which can be seen along the inner edge of the ring. These gases have not yet been blown away by stellar winds. In the picture, the knots and tails look like bicycle toys.

The deep blue color seen in the center of the nebula represents helium, the light blue color on the inner ring represents the glow of hydrogen and oxygen, and the reddish color on the outer ring is due to nitrogen and sulfur.

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