This dramatic Hubble Space Telescope image captures an exquisite view of a brief phase at the end of a medium-mass star’s life.
The picture shows a dying star undergoing a rapid transformation. The star has heated up and expanded in size, and is beginning to rapidly shed its outer layers of gas and dust. The entire system measures 1.4 light-years across and is called the Calabash Nebula, named for the lopsided-looking calabash gourd. The nebula is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula, because the gaseous debris contains large amounts of sulfur.
Amazing Space resources by topic: Stars and stellar evolution