MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artwork of an imaginary planetary nebula, seen from the vicinity of a rocky planet. This is a glowing shell of gas cast off by a star near the end of its life. The star can be seen at the centre of the nebula. The Sun will one day form a planetary nebula, once its internal stock of hydrogen is used up. At the centre of the glowing shells of expelled gas is a shining white dwarf - the inert but still superhot core of the original star.
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