NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mira star and tail, ultraviolet image. This is part of a tail of stellar material (blue) that is 13 light years long. The tail is being left by the star Mira (right). It is thought that this material may one day form new stars and planets. Mira is a large red giant star near the end of its life. It is ejecting the equivalent of the Earth's mass every 10 years. It took 10,000 years for it to move this distance and form the part of the tail seen here. The tail is visible because the ejected gas and dust mixes with the interstellar gas, heating up and emitting ultraviolet rays. Mira, 350 light years from Earth, is located in the constellation of Cetus. Image obtained in 2006 by NASA's GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) satellite. For the full tail, see R670/225.
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