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HubbleSite Hubble Reveals Details of a Newly Born Planetary Nebula

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Space Telescope Science

Astronomers have caught a peek at a rare moment in the final stages of a star's life: a ballooning shroud of gas cast off by a dying star flicking on its stellar light bulb. The Hubble telescope has captured the unveiling of the Stingray nebula (Hen-1357), the youngest known planetary nebula.

Twenty years ago, the nebulous gas entombing the dying star wasn't hot enough to glow. The Stingray nebula (Hen-1357) is so named because its shape resembles a stingray fish. Images of a planetary nebula in its formative years can yield new insights into the last gasps of ordinary stars like our Sun.

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