The Engraved Hourglass Nebula (also known as MyCn 18) is a young planetary nebula situated in the southern constellation Musca about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. It was discovered by Annie Jump Cannon and Margaret W. Mayall during their work on an extended Henry Draper Catalogue (the catalogue was built between 1918 and 1924). At the time, it was designated simply as a small faint planetary nebula. Much improved telescopes and imaging techniques allowed the hourglass shape of the nebula to be discovered by Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on January 18, 1996. It is conjectured that MyCn 18's hourglass shape is produced by the expansion of a fast stellar wind within a slowly expanding cloud which is denser near its equator than its poles. The formation of the shape of the inner "eye" is not yet fully understood.
The Hourglass Nebula was photographed by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 of the Hubble Space Telescope.
A less-famous "Hourglass Nebula" is located inside the Lagoon Nebula.
Read more about Hourglass Nebula: Hourglass Nebula in Popular Culture
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... The Hourglass Nebula was featured on the cover of the April 1997 issue of National Geographic ... The nebula’s unique appearance led the magazine’s editors to comment, “Astronomers looked 8,000 light-years into the cosmos with the Hubble Space Telescope, and it seemed that the eye of God was ... The Hourglass Nebula appears in the popular game, Final Doom ...