Featured Image: Nebular Candles


This collection of ten spectacular Hubble images (click for a closer look) reveals what are known as pre-planetary nebulae: glowing clouds of gas formed shortly after a star reaches the end of the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolutionary phase. During a star’s AGB phase, gas flows off of the star in the form of slow winds, filling the environment around it. After the end of the star’s AGB lifetime, it can emit jets that punch through the winds — shaping the surrounding gas into the hollow, candle-flame-shaped lobes seen in these images. In a recent study led by Bruce Balick (University of Washington, Seattle), a team of scientists has used models to explore the formation histories of these candle-like pre-planetary nebulae. To learn more about the team’s work, check out the article below.


“Models of the Mass-ejection Histories of Pre-planetary Nebulae. III. The Shaping of Lobes by Post-AGB Winds,” Bruce Balick et al 2019 ApJ 877 30. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab16f5