Hubble image of the Red Spider Nebula, located some 3,000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius.
Garrelt Mellema—ESA
October 24, 2016 1:00 PM EDT

The Hubble space telescope has captured an image of the stunning yet spooky Red Spider Nebula. This two-lobed nebula is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, which some 3,000 light years away from earth. This complex structure is called two-lobed because of its symmetrical appearance.

Over 1,500 of these planetary nebulas exist within the Milky Way. Planetary nebulas play a very crucial role within their galaxies. They are able to recycle heavier elements, which were created within the star, back into space.

Waves, caused by supersonic shock, are formed when the local gas is compressed and heated in front of the rapidly expanding lobes. As a star reaches the end of its life a shell of gas and plasma is formed, which then causes the glowing appearance you see in the nebula. For stars, this is one of the last stages in their lifespan. The Red Spider Nebula has one of the hottest stars known within it and contains winds that can generate waves 100 billion kilometers high, NASA says.


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