Hubble watches the icy blue wings of Hen 2-437
|Hen 2-437 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/|
Planetary nebulae such as Hen 2-437 form when an aging low-mass star—such as the sun—reaches the final stages of life. The star swells to become a red giant, before casting off its gaseous outer layers into space. The star itself then slowly shrinks to form a white dwarf, while the expelled gas is slowly compressed and pushed outwards by stellar winds.
As shown by its remarkably beautiful appearance, Hen 2-437 is a bipolar nebula—the material ejected by the dying star has streamed out into space to create the two icy blue lobes pictured here.
Source: NASA [February 14, 2016]