Planetary Nebulae

A bright, colorful shell of gas and dust surrounding a star in the last stages of life. A planetary nebula is created when the star puffs off its outer atmosphere. The nebula usually looks like a doughnut, sometimes with the small, hot, rapidly evolving star visible in the center. The Ring Nebula (M57) in the constellation Lyra is an example.

Radio Programs

More Planetary Nebulae Works of art from dying stars Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Planetary Nebulae A ghostly planetary doppelganger Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Blue Snowball An electric-blue wake in the evening sky Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Future Outbursts Setting up future outbursts Friday, July 24, 2015
Bread Crumbs Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs Thursday, July 23, 2015
Cat’s Eye Nebula The true nature of a glowing cat’s eye Friday, August 29, 2014
Dumbbell Nebula A blaze of color for a dying star Saturday, July 12, 2014
Dumbbell Nebula A colorful final act Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Cat’s Eye Nebula A star that’s changing form Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Saturn Nebula A pair of “Saturns” in the night sky Sunday, November 13, 2011
Moon and Aldebaran Looking at the Sun’s bright future Sunday, September 18, 2011
Moon and Aldebaran Predicting the future of a star Thursday, April 7, 2011
NGC 4361 Sculpting a beautiful stellar corpse Sunday, April 3, 2011
Ghosts Hunting astronomical ghosts Sunday, October 31, 2010
Nebulium Breathing in an exotic element Saturday, October 2, 2010
Vulpecula A dead star and an almost-dead star Saturday, August 7, 2010
Cat's Eye Nebula Sculpting a celestial work of art Thursday, June 24, 2010
Ring Nebula Blowing bubbles around a dying star Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Featured Images

Hubble view of NGC 7662, a planetary nebula
Blue Snowball Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The Southern Owl Nebula, the last gasp of a dying star
Perfect Bubble Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Abell 78, a planetary nebula
Last Round Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The system V664 Cassiopeia is creating a planetary nebula
Bread Crumbs Thursday, July 23, 2015
Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble Space Telescope
Colorful Demise Friday, August 29, 2014
False-color image of M27, the Dumbbell Nebula
Last Gasp Saturday, July 12, 2014
Dumbbell Nebula, M27
Grand Finale Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Infrared/ultraviolet view of Helix Nebula
Colorful Demise Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Planetary nebula R Leporis
Stellar Twister Thursday, October 11, 2012
Beams of light shine through the Egg Nebula
Stellar Headlights Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Hubble Space Telescope view of Cat's Eye Nebula, a planetary nebula
Blowing Bubbles Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Saturn Nebula, NGC 7009, as seen by Hubble Space Telescope
Saturn Simulacrum Sunday, November 13, 2011
The Necklace Nebula, the remains of a dying star in Sagittarius
Ring of Fire Monday, August 15, 2011
Infrared view of planetary nebula NGC 4361 in Corvus
Cotton-Candy Star Sunday, April 3, 2011
Ultraviolet image of the region around the Ghost of Jupiter Nebula
Astronomical Ghost Sunday, October 31, 2010
Messier 27
Heavy Lifting Saturday, August 7, 2010


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