planetary nebulas like Henize 3-401, pictured above, are not unusual, causing speculation that, one day, our own Sun may look like this. Henize 3-401 is one of the most elongated planetary nebulas yet discovered, a particularly odd feat for a seemingly round star. Perhaps, some astronomers hypothesize, the elongated shape gives a clue to the expulsion mechanism. Genesis hypotheses include that the outer layers of gas are funneled out by the star's own magnetic field, and that a second unseen star is somehow involved. After the gas disperses in a few thousand years, only a white dwarf star will remain. Henize 3-401 lies about 10,000 light years away toward the constellation of Carina.
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Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: planetary nebula
Publications with words: planetary nebula