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Abell 30: A star that died, was reborn, then died again

10 Jun 2019, 13:00 UTC
Abell 30: A star that died, was reborn, then died again Inset X-ray (NASA/CXC/IAA-CSIC/M.Guerrero et al); Inset Optical (NASA/STScI); Widefield X-ray (ESA/XMM-Newton); Widefield Optical (NSF/NOAO/KPNO)

Abell 30 is a planetary nebula, that stage in the star’s life when the two winds are colliding, and the central star is lighting them up like a neon sign. In the big image (showing data from the 4-meter Mayall telescope in optical light in red and in X-rays from XMM-Newton in purple), you can see this. The circular shape on the outside is the red giant wind, expanding away in a spherical shell like a soap bubble (and also slightly brightened along the outer edge as it rams into the thin gas between stars). It’s actually rare to get a nearly perfect circular outer halo like that, so this is neat.

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