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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)

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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"

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"

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”

In a classical nova, a white dwarf siphons material off a companion star, piling up material on its surface until thermonuclear processes kick off, creating a brilliant outburst. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

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"

Globular and open clusters compared. (Credit: Mona Evans, "Constellation or Asterism"

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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"

The relation between size and temperature at the point where stars end and brown dwarfs begin (based on a figure from the publication) Image credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF. Mona Evans, "The Smallest Star in the Universe"

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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"

Polaris at the center of star trails, Northern Thailand. (Image: Teoh Hui Chieh) This is a still from a timelapse made by Teoh Hui Chieh from Malaysia. He told Universe Today, “Polaris may be very common for people like you in the northern hemisphere but to us at the equator, it’s something that we don’t see everyday.” ©Mona Evans, "Polaris - 10 Fascinating Facts"

DR 6 nebula ("Galactic Ghoul"). This is a star-forming region in the constellation Cygnus, with the central region (the "nose") about 3.5 light years across. The nebula's nickname comes from its resemblance to a ghoulish face, with cavities in the cloud looking rather like two eyes and a devouring mouth. (Credit: S. Carey (Caltech), JPL-Caltech, NASA) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Ghosts Ghouls and Vampires"


It's Always 4th of July in the Universe

This looks more like a threatening ghost than either the dear old Horsehead Nebula or anything to do with the Fourth! But it's a Hubble Space Telescope infrared image of the Horsehead Nebula. (Credit: STScI/AURA/ESA/NASA) Mona Evans, "Cosmic Halloween Tour"