No star lives forever our own Sun included. After a
star like the Sun has used up all its nuclear fuel, it throws
off its outer layers and then fades away. Hubble's exquisite
images of these glorious displays (called planetary nebulae)
provide new insights into the complexities of a star's final
Despite the name, planetary nebulae have little to do with planets. They were named over a century ago because through the small telescopes of the day, they resembled planets.
Images of planetary nebulae such as
the Cat's Eye nebula give us a preview of how the Sun's
life will end. Stars like the Sun puff off their outer layers
when they die, leaving behind a tiny white ember not much
larger than the Earth.