I could endure the hunger. I had learned to live with hate. But to feel that there was feeling denied me, that the very breath of life itself was beyond my reach, that more than anything else hurt, wounded me. I had a new hunger. Richard Wright
Using combined data from three different telescopes, this remarkably deep exposure of the famous Ring Nebula reveals additional glowing gas extending far beyond its central star.
After billions of years converting hydrogen to helium in its core, the star began to run out of fuel. It then ballooned in size, becoming a red giant. During this phase, the star shed its outer gaseous layers into space and began to collapse as fusion reactions began to die out. The outer rings were formed when faster-moving gas slammed into slower-moving material. The nebula is expanding at more than 43,000 miles an hour and will continue to expand for another 10,000 years. After that, the nebula will become fainter and fainter until it merges with the interstellar medium.
(Image Credit: Hubble, Large Binocular Telescope, Subaru Telescope; Composition & Copyright: Robert Gendler)