One of the most fascinating things about stars is how they create their finest work of art as they die. The M2-9, also known as the Butterfly Nebula, is a good example of this phenomenon.
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As stars die, they “transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes.”
The expended gas frequently forms an impressive display called a planetary nebula that fades gradually over thousands of years.
How lucky we are to see such a spectacle.
(Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA – Processing: Judy Schmidt)