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space amethyst in the “heart” of a dying star

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released a beautiful image of the planetary nebula IC 4593, taken from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A planetary nebula is a shell of ionized gas around a white dwarf. Such stars are formed in the last stages of the life of luminaries with masses of up to several solar masses. When the thermonuclear combustion of hydrogen in the interior of a star ends, changes in its internal structure lead to expansion and transformation into a red giant. Then compression occurs with the release of the outer layers into space in the form of giant clouds of dust and gas, resulting in the formation of a white dwarf.

Structure IC 4593 lies approximately 7,800 light-years from Earth. In the above image, the object resembles a colossal amethyst, a semi-precious stone with a bluish-purple structure.

Note that the Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched back in 1999 to explore space in the X-ray range. Initially, the service life of the observatory was estimated at five years, but the apparatus has been operating successfully to this day.

Below you can see an image of the planetary nebula IC 4593, taken by the Hubble Orbiting Telescope.

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