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Stars and stellar evolution
Calabash Nebula
Half size calabash litho
(422 KB)
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Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

This dramatic Hubble Space Telescope image captures an exquisite view of a brief phase at the end of a medium-mass star’s life.

Facts of interest about the image

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.

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