FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Photo of the Day: 5/19/14 – NGC 2174

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Stars similar in mass and composition to our sun (a yellow-dwarf) generally take about 10 billion years before they consume all of their supply of fuel for nuclear fusion, signaling the beginning of the end of the star’s life (before the re-birthing process begins all over again). After which, one prominent remainder will live on for a short period of time, before dissipating: a planetary nebula. This is yet another example of one:

NGC 5882, as it’s known as, is located in the constellation of Lupus some 7,000 light-years from Earth. Perhaps most noticeable about this particular nebula is its distinct shape. Its non-uniform, elongated inner shell of gases (comprised of whatever is left of the star’s ionized hydrogen content) is actually intertwined with a fainter. more aspherical shell.

Over the course of the next several million years, the gas will disperse evenly, leaving behind a dense white-dwarf, which will remain hot for billions of years to come.

See a larger image here.

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