Southern Crab Nebula

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The Southern Crab Nebula in its entirety, courtesy of NASA/ESA
Close up of the center of the Nebula, courtesy of NASA/ESA

The Southern Crab Nebula or Hen2-104 is a nebula in the constellation Centaurus. The nebula is several thousand light years from Earth, and its central star is a symbiotic Mira variable - white dwarf pair. It is named for its resemblance to the Crab Nebula, which is in the northern sky.

The nebula had already been observed using Earth-based telescopes, but images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope (shown) in 1999 have provided much more detail, revealing that at the center of the nebula are a pair of stars, a red giant and a white dwarf.