This oddly shaped object is an aging, Sun-like star near the end of its life. The Hubble telescope's infrared camera, called the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, captured a fleeting phase in the death march of this star. In these pictures, a red giant star is transformed into a planetary nebula, the glowing remnants of a dying star. The star is shrouded in dust and gas in the center of these pictures. The "wings" of material, called a nebula, are dust and gas cast off by the declining star.
Credit: NASA, ESA, William B. Latter (SIRTF Science Center/California Institute of Technology), John H. Bieging (University of Arizona), Casey Meakin (University of Arizona), A.G.G.M. Tielens (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute), Aditya Dayal (IPAC/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Joseph L. Hora (Center for Astrophysics), and Douglas M. Kelly (University of Arizona).