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Vampire star at work. Artist's concept of blue straggler and its companion. The red giant, losing its outer layers to its companion, will end up as a white dwarf. The other star - the blue straggler - appears to be much younger, than it is, for it has been "feeding" off the other one. (Credit: Aaron M. Geller)

The Ghost Nebula (vdB 141). It's a reflection nebula in the constellation Cepheus. The light of stars embedded in the nebula give it the brown color that looks a bit liked dried blood. (Image credit: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

Little Ghost Nebula. (NGC 6369) (Credit: Hubble Heritage Team, NASA) A planetary nebula in the constellation Ophiucus over 2000 light years away. William Herschel discovered it in the18th century. It's round like a planet, but was actually formed from material ejected by a dying star. What remains of the star is the white dwarf near the center. The nebula's main ring structure is about a light-year across. Mona Evans, “Nebulae” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art43407.asp

Witch's Broom Nebula. It's part of the Veil Nebula (NGC 6960), the remains of a supernova that exploded more than 15,000 years ago. The bright star (52 Cygnus) near the center of the image isn't associated with the supernova. (Credit: T. A. Rector / University of Alaska Anchorage and WIYN /NOAO/AURA/NSF) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

Artist's impression of brown dwarf ULAS J222711-004547, which has a very thick cloud layer of mineral dust. The dust is making the brown dwarf appear redder than its counterparts. A brown dwarf isn't massive enough to sustain hydrogen fusion. It's a failed star. (Credit: Neil J. Cook, Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire)

Dense core of Omega Centauri globular cluster, a cluster so different to the others some astronomers think it's actually the core of a disrupted dwarf galaxy. Here are: Yellow-white sunlike stars; very evolved stars, large, cool & red, shedding outer layers; bright blue ones, out of hydrogen and burning helium. Faint blue dots are white dwarfs with no fuel, collapsed and cooling. Some blue stars are older stars which have merged and heated up. ( Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO…

NASA Blueshiftfrom NASA Blueshift

Spooky Astronomy, part 4

A grinning one-eyed skull? Actually it's NGC 5189, a complex planetary nebula around a dying star. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/S.Carey (Caltech)) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

Reflection nebula in Cepheus cataloged as vdB 152. It's often described as a "ghostly apparition" and the picture shows it looking like the common image of a ghost. (Image credit: Giovanni Benentende) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

Size comparison of our Sun, a red dwarf, a brown dwarf, Jupiter & Earth. Stars with less mass than the Sun are smaller and cooler. Brown dwarfs have less than eight percent of the Sun's mass, so can't sustain nuclear fusion. These cool orbs are nearly impossible to see in visible light, but stand out when viewed in infrared. Their diameters are about the same as Jupiter’s, but they can have up to 80 times more mass and are thought to have planetary systems of their own. (Image credit: NASA)

R Coronae Borealis type star. Artist rendering of dust cloud based on observations from the VLT. Variable star that dims erratically when it forms dusty clouds. If the dust is along our line-of-sight it eclipses the star. As the stellar winds blow the dust away, the star reappears. (Credit: ESO)

Witch Head Nebula (IC 2118). It's reflection nebula which glows by reflecting light from the bright blue star Rigel in the constellation Orion. The nebular dust grains tend to absorb red light and reflect blue light. (Image credit: Steve Mazlin, Star Shadows Remote Observatory) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

NASA Blueshiftfrom NASA Blueshift

Spooky Astronomy, part 2

Ghostly Reflections in the Pleiades. (Image Credit: NASA & The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)) One of the hot stars of the Pleiades cluster is destroying a dark cloud of gas and dust. That's producing this wispy specter. The blue color shows that it's reflecting starlight. Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp

NASA Blueshiftfrom NASA Blueshift

Spooky Astronomy, part 4

Screaming head with flaming hair. Or maybe just a planetary nebula. Nicknamed the Flaming Skull Nebula. [Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) & H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)] Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art52161.asp