This extraordinary bubble, glowing like the ghost of a star in the haunting darkness of space, may appear supernatural and mysterious, but it is a familiar astronomical object: a planetary nebula, the remnants of a dying star. This is the best view of the little-known object ESO 378-1 yet obtained and was captured by ESO's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.
The shimmering colours visible in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula. The new image highlights the nebula’s shells and its knots of expanding gas in striking detail. Two iridescent lobes of material stretch outwards from a central star system. Within these lobes two huge jets of gas are streaming from the star system at speeds in excess of one million kilometres per hour.
We are used to Hubble capturing astonishing images of supernovae and planetary nebulae created by huge explosions of dying stars. In this image this star went out with a whimper, at least that's how NASA put it. None the less it still is an amazing and gorgeous image.
Far away, deep in space, a new baby star has been born in the universe. Hubble and ESA teamed up to bring us this remarkable image. This young star is zooming through the cosmos at supersonic speed with a tail made up from the very star that made it. The the gas and dust that surrounds it will eventually become planets and moons of this newborn alien sun.