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Turtle in Space


The Hubble telescope has shown us that the shrouds of gas surrounding dying, Sun-like stars (called planetary nebulae) come in a variety of strange shapes, from an "hourglass" to a "butterfly" to a "stingray."



With this image of NGC 6210, the Hubble telescope has added another bizarre form to the rogues' gallery of planetary nebulae: a turtle swallowing a seashell. Giving this dying star such a weird name is less of a challenge than trying to figure out how dying stars create those unusual shapes. The larger image shows the entire nebula; the inset picture captures the complicated structure surrounding the dying star.



Credit: Robert Rubin and Christopher Ortiz (NASA Ames Research Center), Patrick Harrington and Nancy Jo Lame (University of Maryland), Reginald Dufour (Rice University), and NASA

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