The Cat's Eye Nebula may be three thousand light years from earth - but its fate is the one that likely awaits our own sun, albeit in about 5 billion years.
As a dying star nears the end of its red giant phase, its outer layers are expelled outwards forming the outer concentric circles seen in the image that stretch for millions of miles.
This explosion exposes the pulsating core of the star.
But the formation of the entrancing blue gas clouds at the centre of the image are not well understood, as the process stems from the inner nuclear reactions of a star that hold the secrets of the formation of the galaxy. Read More