Southern Ring Nebula
NGC 3132 is a prime example of a planetary nebula. It is an expanding cloud of gas surrounding a dying star. This nebula is known to astronomers in the southern hemisphere as the "Southern Ring" or the "Eight-Burst" Nebula. Planetary nebulae get their name from the round shape that many of them show when examined through a small telescope. They really have nothing to do with planets, but are actually huge shells of gas ejected by stars as they near the end of their life. NGC 3132 is nearly half a light year in diameter and at is located about 2000 light years from Earth.
The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA)