This star may be in its death throes, but don't feel too sorry for it: from our perspective it's still going to be a star long after you and everyone you know has died.
The Calabash Nebula is captured here by the Hubble Space Telescope as it undergoes the transformation from a red giant to its afterlife as a planetary nebula. Astronomers rarely capture a "dying star" in this phase because it occurs within the blink of an eye in astronomical terms. It’ll take a thousand years for it to evolve into a fully-fledged planetary nebula.
Of course, what we’re seeing here is 5,000 light years away in the Puppis constellation so it happened 5,000 years ago and the light is just reaching us. From that perspective, what we’re seeing is a ghost, a star long dead before we’d even invented telescopes.
During the transformation it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space in opposite directions at immense speeds. The gas shown in yellow is moving close to 600,000 miles an hour.
Image released on Feb. 3.