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The Hubble Telescope Captured This Spectacular Photo of a Star Dying

Published On 02/05/2017 Published On 02/05/2017

About five billion years from now, the sun will slowly begin to die by expanding and transforming into a red giant star. Of course, humans will likely be long gone by then, but other stars in the universe can provide us with a good idea of what the sun's death might look like now. In fact, NASA's Hubble Telescope recently captured the explosive death of low-mass star like the sun and, as you can see in the extremely rare image, it's spectacular. 

NASA first released the stunning new photo last Friday, noting that such images are extremely rare due to how quickly (in astronomical terms) this phase of a star's evolution occurs. Specifically, the photo shows the Calabash Nebula, a red giant, transforming into a planetary nebula by explosively spewing its outer layers of gas and other materials into space at more than 620,000mph, according to the space agency. The gas (the yellow stuff) can be see shooting into opposite directions, creating the beautiful spectacle. 

NASA also points out Calabash Nebula is often referred to as the Rotten Egg Nebula, because it contains a lot of sulphur, which can smell like a rotten egg. So, does that mean space is, uh, letting one rip as the star dies? Thankfully, NASA said we're more than 5,000 light years away. Phew. 

h/t BGR

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and thinks this is simultaneously beautiful and kind of terrifying. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.

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