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Slate Magazinefrom Slate Magazine

A Dying Star Creates a Flower in Space

A Dying Star Creates a Flower in Space "This is the most jaw-droppingly beautiful picture of the Ring Nebula I’ve ever seen."

Brain Pickingsfrom Brain Pickings

How the Hubble Space Telescope Captured the Cosmos

The Cat's Eye Nebula, one of the first planetary nebulae discovered, also has one of the most complex forms known to this kind of nebula. Eleven rings, or shells, of gas make up the Cat's Eye

The Helix Nebula, lies 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius. It is a typical example of a class of objects called planetary nebula. Planetary nebulae are actually the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. These stars spend most of their lives turning hydrogen into helium in massive runaway nuclear fusion reactions in their cores. In fact, this process of fusion provides all the light and heat that we get from our sun.

NGC 6302 (The Butterfly Nebula): With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the central star of this particular planetary nebula is exceptionally hot -- shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust. This dramatically detailed close-up of the dying star's nebula was recorded by the newly upgraded Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

This beautiful photo captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the star cluster Pismis 24 at the core of a large emission nebula. The bubble creation seen at the center of the photo is caused by youngest heavy stars (blue) that emit intense ultraviolet radiation and in turn heat the surrounding gas causing it to "bubble."