The Helix nebula is one of the closer planetary nebula created by the death throes of a star much like our own Sun. The remnant of the star, a white dwarf, glows and causes the material previously expelled to fluoresce. The Helix is 700 light-years distant in the constellation Aquarius and spans 2.5 light-years. Its age is estimated to be ~12,000 years and the material is moving away from the center at ~32 km/s.
The inner ring contains radially symmetric knots of nebulosity each of which is about the size of our solar system. The Helix contains about 20,000 of these cometary knots.