The dazzling Blue Ring Nebula puzzled scientists for 16 years — and now they finally understand why


Scientists have uncovered new evidence in the mysterious fluorescent debris of the Blue Ring Nebula that may explain how the strange structure formed. 

The Blue Ring Nebula harbors a central star, known as TYC 2597-735-1. An unusual ultraviolet ring surrounds the star, which astronomers first observed in 2004 using NASA’s now-defunct Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) space telescope. Until now, the formation of this peculiar ring — which is actually invisible ultraviolet light that has been color-coded blue in the telescope images — has largely remained a mystery. 



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