Here is an amazing image obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the planetary nebula NGC 3918 - a brilliant cloud of colorful gas in the territory of the constellation Centaurus, distant 4900 light years from us.
In the center of the gas cloud, completely obscured by the nebula, dying remains of a red giant are hidden. During the final convulsive evolutionary phase of these stars, giant gas clouds are ejected from the stellar surface before it leaves the cocoon as a white dwarf. The intense UV rays from the tiny stellar remnant cause the surrounding gas to glow in the form of a fluorescent sign. These unusual and bright planetary nebulae are among the brightest sights of the night sky, often taking strange and irregular forms, which still cannot be fully explained. NGC 3918 is notable for a shape with a bright inner gas envelope and a more diffuse outer shell extending far from the nebula. This looks like the result of two separate gas emissions, but it is not. Studies indicate that they formed at the same time, but are blown out of a star at different speeds. Estimates show that powerful gas jets from a large structure spread with an indicator of 350000 km / h.
Planetary nebulae, like NGC 3918, are considered short-lived and exist only a few tens of thousands of years. The picture was created on the basis of a set of visible and near-infrared images taken on the wide-angle and planetary camera 2 of the Hubble.