The Complexity of Stellar Death

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Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 425-426
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.425

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The death of a small star--such as our sun--was long believed to be accompanied by formation of a smoothly expanding nebula. Now, dozens of spectacular images of planetary and protoplanetary nebulae provided by Hubble Space Telescope have revealed morphological aspects completely unsuspected before. The newly found complexity represents a challenge for researchers trying to understand the mechanisms of stellar death.