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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 nearest stars, their distances in light-years, spectral types and known planets. Only 9 of the stars within 15 light years can be seen with the unaided eye from Earth. (Credit: Karl Tate / Source: NASA)

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

Procyon, the seventh brightest star in the sky and one of the vertices of the Winter Triangle. It's one of our nearest neighbors at just over 11 light years away in the constellation Canis Minor. Procyon is a binary star system, composed of a white main sequence star and a white dwarf star.

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)

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

NGC 6397, a globular cluster in the constellation Ara. There is evidence of a number of blue stragglers. [Credit: Francesco Ferraro (Bologna University) NASA, ESA]

How many red dwarfs are there? (credit: Jonathan O'Callaghan) Mona Evans, "Do Red Dwarfs Live Forever?" http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art184046.asp

Messier 68. One of the 150 globular clusters that surround the Milky Way. They contain some of the oldest stars in the galaxy, up to ten billion years old. (Credits: Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA)