The life of a planetary nebula is often chaotic, from the death of its parent star to the scattering of its contents far out into space. Captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, ESO 455-10 is one such planetary nebula, located in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).
The oblate shells of ESO 455-10, previously held tightly together as layers of its central star, not only give this planetary nebula its unique appearance, but also offer information about the nebula. Seen in a field of stars, the distinct asymmetrical arc of material over the north side of the nebula is a clear sign of interactions between ESO 455-10 and the interstellar medium.
The interstellar medium is the material such as diffuse gas between star systems and galaxies. The star at the center of ESO 455-10 allows Hubble to see the interaction with the gas and dust of the nebula, the surrounding interstellar medium, and the light from the star itself. Planetary nebulae are thought to be crucial in galactic enrichment as they distribute their elements, particularly the heavier metal elements produced inside a star, into the interstellar medium which will in time form the next generation of stars.
Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Stanghellini
ESO 455-10的扁平外壳，以前作为其中心恒星的层状结构紧密地结合在一起，不仅赋予了这个行星状星云独特的外观，而且提供了星云的信息。在恒星的视野中，星云北侧明显的不对称物质弧是ESO 455-10与星际介质之间相互作用的明显标志。