This is what we usually see in pictures of the Ring Nebula
Deeper exposures reveal loops and filaments just outside the "ring" of the Ring Nebula.
Very deep exposures show that the Ring Nebula and its loops are surrounded by a nearly perfectly circular halo of glowing material.
All 3 of these images are taken from a single CCD exposure, but displayed at 3 different contrast levels. All have the same identical scale, so you can see the small size of the piece we normally think of as "The Ring".
The same CCD image as above, processed to show the full extension and contrast range of the Ring nebula, as negative and positive image.
Credit: George Jacoby, KPNO
Look at George Jacoby's Planetary Nebula gallery
Last Modification: 2 Feb 1998