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published in space

The Cat’s Eye Nebula

The Cat’s Eye planetary nebula represents the fate of stars such as the Sun. In spite of their name , the planetary nebulae don’t have anything to do with a planet’s creation. The rings that are seen are layers of superficial areas of a star which, having reached an advanced stage of its evolution, is no longer able to dominate them and expels them. The planetary nebula’s shape comes from the way material is expelled. In this case, the concentric shell structure that we can see, is formed through numerous expulsions that happen every 1,500 years. In general there are no two planetary nebulae alike, instead they are all different from one another. Credits: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

With the sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research
 
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