Talk:Helix Nebula

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"..and also as the "Eye of Sauron" due to its resemblance to said object in the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy. However, this name is false and the stylized picture with the blue "iris" is a composite image."

The image was taken by the Hubble telescope and is displayed on as an authentic photo of the nebula. Scientific American (the magazine) has also had an article featuring the helix nebula and has used the same image as a photo of the nebula. As a result, I have removed the latter sentence of the quote.

snopes says the image has had its colours altered. it seems that this is a more authentic photo. Shakey-Lo 16:30, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
All HST images are false color - "altered" implies that a real photograph was taken and then changed, and this is not what they do. It is instead a representative color image - each color represents one type of material in the clouds, or a certain set of conditions (temperature, density, etc.). [1] --zandperl 04:05, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't think that having two versions of essentially the same image is useful. I suggest we have one of the two be the main image at the top (whichever gets voted as a good picture), and replace the second within the text of either a different wavelength (for example the Spitzer Space Telescope image, or the APOD one listed above, or one of the many HST closeup images here. --zandperl 04:05, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Unused image[edit]

There is a slightly different image of this nebula at Image:God's_Eye.png. If anyone thinks it would be beneficial to add this alternate image in some way, go ahead. Otherwise, I'll list it at WP:IFD as an orphan. --Icarus (Hi!) 09:25, 19 June 2007 (UTC)


Anyone have any idea how big those knots are? Are they the size of a star? of a solar system? --Lenehey (talk) 18:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Added approximate size Dayfield (talk) 21:31, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Introductory reference[edit]

Is the fact that the nebula appeared in "Battlestar Galactica" really of such encyclopaedic importance that it belongs in the introductory paragraph?

Image Change?[edit]

A user recently changed the main image of the page. I have changed it back for now. The image that was originally there is a featured image, and whether or not the proposed new one is better is a personal judgement call, so I think any proposed change should be discussed first. The relevant images are:

Original image
Proposed new image

I personally prefer the original image, as it more displays a greater portion of the helix shape instead of just the "eye-like" interior that is the most famous part, but not as complete a representation of the whole nebula. The new image is nice, however, and in my experience is more commonly used precisely because it does increase the element of pareidolia, so I think it would be fine to include it later in the article. --Icarus (Hi!) 01:58, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

I question the supposed improved quality of the second image. While the metadata claims that it’s much higher resolution (16,000 × 16,000 vs 3,200 × 3,200), it’s actually been over-enlarged, so that at full resolution, each original pixel appears to be three or four pixels wide on my screen (16,000 ÷ 3,200 = 5), and (minimal) JPEG compression artifacts intrude on perception. The file is so big that my computer (no slouch) has difficulty displaying it. The first image’s metadata does say it was down-sampled, but since the second image’s metadata doesn’t include equivalent technical detail, I’m not sure that it wasn’t reprocessed from the first. Also, why is the outer part of the nebula missing in the second image? (talk) 17:21, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Some one have changed it to Spitzer's inferred image Xiaomao Chen (talk) 22:08, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

I've changed the main image back to the visible light photo because it is more recognisable to the public. The infrared image is now in the body of the article.--Forward Unto Dawn 07:06, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I have changed it to Iridescent Glory of Nearby Helix Nebula.jpg as proposed in the absence of any strong objections here. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 04:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)


According to the Swedish National Encyclopedia, the distance between earth and the Helix Nebula is 400 ly whilst wikipedia claims that the distance is approximately 700 ly. Since the Swedish NE is the country's most renowned encyclopedia it's usually very reliable, but because WP states one thing and NE another I simply can't say for sure. It would certainly be interesting to find out what the correct distance is. Maxentaxen 28 november 2008 18:18 (CET)

I am of the impression that measuring distances in astronomy isn't quite that straight forward; you'll find that different sources give different distance estimates, probably depending on the age of the publication. --Harald Khan Ճ 17:58, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Unintelligible Notes?[edit]

Something is amiss with the notes section of the article. Not only is the "edit" link displayed repeatedly, but the notes themselves are both poorly formatted and cryptic. Anyone else see what I see? —Preceding unsigned comment added by RadicalTwo (talkcontribs) 18:02, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

I see one "edit" link, and notes that I presume would make sense to someone with a higher level of education in astrophysics than I do. That info is too technical to belong in the article itself, since most people (like you and I) won't understand it. Some people would argue that it therefore doesn't belong in the article at all, but I think it's good to have it as a note so those who can understand it and want that additional information can have it. --Icarus (Hi!) 18:44, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Section Edit Links[edit]

Is anyone else seeing all of the "edit" links for each section lined up by the "Notes" header? -RadicalOneContact MeChase My Tail 20:01, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

File:Comets Kick up Dust in Helix Nebula (PIA09178).jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Comets Kick up Dust in Helix Nebula (PIA09178).jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on October 12, 2016. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2016-10-12. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:26, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Helix Nebula
The Helix Nebula is a large planetary nebula located in the constellation Aquarius. Discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824, it is one of the closest to Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae, about 215 parsecs (700 light-years) away. It is similar in appearance to the Cat's Eye Nebula and the Ring Nebula.Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona