Star's last hurrah

The nebula NGC 2440 lies around 4,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Puppis.

NASA / ESA / K. Noll (STScI) / The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the colourful "last hurrah" of a star like our sun. Ultraviolet light from the burned-out white dwarf star – the white dot in the centre – makes the surrounding cocoon of gases glow with different colours depending on composition, density and proximity to the hot central star.

Blue is helium, blue-green oxygen, and red nitrogen and hydrogen.

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