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Hubble Captures Colorful 'Last Hurrah' of a Dying Sun-Like Star

Sep 26, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

Hubble Space Telescope did it again; this time, it captured the colorful last moments of a dying Sun-like star.

In the interesting image taken by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, what looks like a giant blob of colorful gas can be seen. The image shows the "last hurrah" of a star very similar to the Earth's sun. Experts say that based on the image, the star is already on its dying process and it exhibited by peeling off of its outer layers of gasses. The colorful gasses are what appears to be a "cocoon" formation surrounding what's left of the core. In addition to the gas emissions, the ultraviolet light from the dying Sun-like star makes the materials around the star glow in a colorful way.

The core of the white dwarf can be seen as a small dot in the center of the dying star. The white dwarf will eventually turn into a stellar debris in the next five billion years. The Milky Way galaxy is said to be home to stellar relics from stars that once existed and had died over the years. These stellar relics are referred to as "planetary nebulae." But although these practically dominates galaxies, planetary nebulae's have no link whatsoever with planets.

Some 18th and 19th-century astronomers coined the name due to the fact that the dying stars look like disks of very distant planets when viewed through small telescopes. What Hubble Space Telescope captured is a type of planetary nebulae called NGC 2240. NGC 2240 is very popular not only due to its colorful dying phase but also because its core is one of the hottest known surfaces that can reach 360,000 degrees Fahrenheit (200,000 degrees Celsius), according to Science Daily.

The chaotic yet colorful façade is indicative of the star's characteristics that tell experts that it sheds its mass in episodes. During each episode, the star emits materials in much different direction. Evidence of this behavior can be seen from the lobes of the star. The nebula's cloud and dust-rich environment also form long and dark streaks visible in the photo.

NGC 2440 is located about 4,000 light-years away from Earth towards the direction of constellation Puppis. To be able to showcase its glow, the dying star is dependent on its density, composition and the temperature of the hot "central star."

Read More:
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Discover Light-Bending Worlds With Two Suns
Hubble Captures Rare Lenticular Galaxy -- Why are Astronomers Interested?


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