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Odd-Shaped Nebula
a planetary nebulaThis inhabitant of the cosmological zoo, known to astronomers by the decidedly dry name IC 4406, is a planetary nebula imaged during the ongoing shakedown cruise of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, the first of a series of 8.2-meter telescopes now under construction. Planetary nebulas are usually oval or round and consist of expanding concentric rings of gas around a hot central star. This nebula with the weird geometry lives in the constellation Lupus, approximately 5,000 light years from Earth.

       
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