The Last Confessions of a Dying Star
Probing a glowing bubble of gas and dust encircling a dying Sun-like star, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a wealth of previously unseen structures in planetary nebula NGC 2371. The remnant star visible at the center of NGC 2371 is the super-hot core of the former red giant, now stripped of its outer layers. Its surface temperature is a scorching 240,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Prominent pink clouds of cool, dense gas lie on opposite sides of the central star. Also striking are the numerous, very small pink dots, marking relatively dense and small knots of gas, which also lie on diametrically opposite sides of the star. NGC 2371 lies about 4,300 light-years away in the constellation Gemini. The Hubble Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 images were taken in November 2007.