NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)1 of 10
The Little Ghost nebula is a planetary nebula, so called because as the dying star expels its outer layers it resembles a planet when seen through a small telescope. The Little Ghost nebula's blue-green ring marks the location where energetic ultraviolet light has stripped electrons from oxygen atoms. This image was captured by Hubble Space Telescope in February 2002.
NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)2 of 10
In November 2008, the Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of planetary nebula NGC 2818, which lies in the southern constellation of Pyxis (the Compass). The spectacular structure of the nebula contains the outer layers of a star that were expelled into interstellar space. The colors in the image represent a range of emissions coming from the clouds of the nebula: red represents nitrogen, green represents hydrogen, and blue represents oxygen.
NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)3 of 10
The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image taken in February 2010 captures the activity atop a 3-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust, called Mystic Mountain, in the Carina nebula. Within the dense structure are infant stars that fire off jets of gas seen streaming away from the cloud's peaks. The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur (red).
J.P. Harrington and K.J. Borkowski (University of Maryland), and NASA4 of 10
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image taken in January 1995 shows one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen, NGC 6543, or the Cat's Eye nebula. Hubble reveals intricate structures in the nebula, including concentric gas shells, jets of high-speed gas and unusual shock-induced knots of gas. The Cat's Eye nebula is estimated to be 1,000 years old, making it a visual "fossil record" of the dynamics and late evolution of a dying star.
Hubble Site5 of 10
The Butterfly nebula gets its wing-like shape from rolling clouds of gas that were ejected from a dying star. The star is unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that makes the cast-off material glow. This image was taken from aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2009.
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)6 of 10
Filaments stream from nebula N44C, a region of glowing hydrogen gas around an association of young stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The star responsible for illuminating the nebula is unusually hot. Typically, the most massive stars have maximum temperatures of 90,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This star is 135,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA, ESA, Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris, France)7 of 10
Intense radiation from ultra-bright stars in nebula N83B has blown a glowing bubble in the gas surrounding the stars. This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image was acquired in May 2000 and shows diffuse nebula DEM22d, partially obscured by dust and gas, to the right of N83B.
NASA, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)8 of 10
The Eagle nebula is a cluster of young stars in the constellation Serpens. This image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in November 2004 and shows the top of a billowing tower of gas and dust within the nebula.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration9 of 10
This composite of the Veil nebula is made of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in November 1994 and August 1997. The Veil nebula, left behind by the explosion of a massive star thousands of years ago, is one of the largest supernova remnants in the sky.
Stocktrek Images/Getty Images10 of 10Next: This Just in From Space
The Alnitak region in the Orion constellation includes both the Flame nebula, in the bottom left of the image, and the Horsehead nebula, in the center-right of the image.