A wintery bipolar planetary nebula
Space news (March 09, 2016) – deep within the faint northern constellation Vulpecula (The Fox) –
Just one of over 3,000 spectacular planetary nebula astronomers have detected hidden within the Milky Way, the stunningly symmetrical icy blue wings of Hen 2-437 float upon the stars of Vulpecula in the Hubble image above.
Just an icy blue cosmic moth adrift upon a sea of stars, Hen 2-437 is a bipolar nebula similar to hourglass shaped PN Hb 12 (Hubble 12) and the stunning M2-9 (The Twin Jet Nebula).
An example of a sun-like star in the final stages of its life cycle, material ejected by the dying star streamed outward into space to create the two icy blue wings of Hen 2-427 seen here.
Sol will one day, billions of years in the future, swell to become a red giant and then expel its gaseous outer layers into space. Shrinking down to form a white dwarf, while ejected material is slowly compressed and pushed outward by stellar winds. The cast off gas streams outward into space to form the two icy blue lobes of Hen 2-437.
Watch this video on the icy blue wings of Hen 2-437
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Learn more about the youngest, closest black hole to Sol.
Follow the journey of NASA across the solar system and stars here.
Learn more about bipolar planetary nebula.
Learn more about Wolf-Rayet stars.