'Born-Again' Nebula Foreshadows Sun's Death

Posted by M ws On Thursday, November 29, 2012 0 comments

New images of a "born-again" planetary nebula give a glimpse of what our sun might look like in 5 billion years when it transforms into stellar giant near the end of its life cycle.

Scientists created the new stunning new view of the planetary nebula Abell 30 by combining visible-light images from the Hubble Space Telescope and X-ray observations from the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra space telescopes. The Abell 30 nebula is located 5,500 light-years from Earth.

The term "planetary nebula" is somewhat of a misnomer that dates back to the 18th century when astronomers thought these glowing blobs looked like distant gas giants. A planetary nebula is actually made up of the shells of stellar material ejected from dying stars that have passed through the red giant phase after starting to run out of fuel.

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