MNN Galleries

8 incredible images of dead and dying stars

April 17, 2012, 6:34 p.m.
dying star

Photo: NASA

9 of 10

Red X marks the spot

What happens when a dying star releases its energy in cone-shaped bursts? This dying star, as revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope, looks like a giant red X in space. As National Geographic reports, “this star, which began shedding its outer layers about 14,000 years ago, will slowly become smaller and hotter and begin to release a flood of ultraviolet light.” Dead stars are the ultimate recyclers in the universe. All the dust and debris combines with the heavy elements and chemical compounds created during the star’s death. Ultimately, this provides the building blocks for new stars and planetary systems to be reborn among the “ashes,” and so, the circle of celestial life continues forward.