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The blue-green glow in the centre of the Helix Nebula, 650 light-years from the Sun, comes from oxygen atoms shining under effects of the intense ultraviolet radiation of the very hot central star and the hot gas. Further out from the star and beyond the ring of knots, the red colour from hydrogen and nitrogen is more prominent.

CREDIT: ESO.

Source:
http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso0907a/