The gates of heaven? Hubble telescope captures extremely rare picture of dying star emitting ethereal beams of light

The gates of heaven? Hubble telescope captures extremely rare picture of dying star emitting ethereal beams of light

By Ruth Whitehead

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It looks like the gateway to heaven - but this stunning image taken by the Hubble Telescope has captured the dramatic phase of a dying star's lifespan when it runs out of nuclear fuel and emits beams of light like searchlights.

 

It's called the preplanetary or protoplanetary nebula stage and this image shows the Egg Nebula, which was the first preplanetary nebula to be discovered, less than 40 years ago. Scientists admit many aspects of this phenomenon remain a mystery.

NASA and the European Space Agency, who run the telescope, explained that over a few thousand years the hot remains of the aging star in the centre of the nebula, or cloud of dust, heat it up, 'excite' the gas, and make it glow.

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Comment by raymond _______ on May 1, 2012 at 5:35pm

Love those STARS...Did you know SIRIUS(in canis major) and our SUN are both in a binary system.

Comment by Sweettina2 on April 30, 2012 at 11:30pm

Wow, awesome pics!

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