One of the Hubble telescope’s best discoveries was the planetary nebula. These nebulae form as a result of a dying star no longer being able to hold its contents. While a young star can hold together due to fusion reactions in its center.
The gravity placed upon the materials on the outer part of a star will eventually take their toll on the structure of that star. Thereby forcing the inner materials to heat up and condense. The hot temperatures at the central point of the star will cause fast stellar winds to push the outer materials away. This will occur over the course of a few thousand light years.
The end result is a glowing core with distant gases ignited by its force causing them to take on eerie forms and different colors of iridescence.
A common myth is that planetary nebulae are associated with planets given the name. This is false. Planetary nebulas are directly related to stars. To read more, click here.
Some scientists theorize that a planetary nebula will form once the sun has burned all of its materials out. While others say (based on evidence about globular cluster stars, to view an example of one, such as the m4, click here) a star’s materials would, on average, have to weigh at least 20% more than the sun’s does for a planetary nebula to one day, occur.
Scientists further estimate that there are approximately 10,000 within just our galaxy alone! It’s crazy to imagine how many of these gorgeous space wonders could exist within the whole known universe.