The image above from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 5307, a planetary nebula that lies about 10,000 light-years from Earth. It can be seen in the constellation Centaurus (the Centaur), which can be seen primarily in the southern hemisphere. A planetary nebula is the final stage of a Sun-like star. As such, planetary nebulas allow us a glimpse into the future of our own solar system. A star like our Sun will, at the end of its life, transform into a red giant. Stars are sustained by the nuclear fusion that occurs in their core, which creates energy. The nuclear fusion processes constantly try to rip the star apart. Only the gravity of the star prevents this from happening.
At the end of the red giant phase of a star, these forces become unbalanced. Without enough energy created by fusion, the core of the star collapses in on itself, while the surface layers are ejected outward. After that, all that remains of the star is what we see here: glowing outer layers surrounding a white dwarf star, the remnants of the red giant star’s core.
This isn’t the end of this star’s evolution though — those outer layers are still moving and cooling. In just a few thousand years they will have dissipated, and all that will be left to see is the dimly glowing white dwarf.
Meanwhile back on Earth, our magnetic interaction with the sun and the latest coronal hole have intensified hurricane and earthquake watch around the globe. The Bahamas has suffered the most powerful storm since records began which has torn off roofs and caused severe flooding. The slow-moving, category five Hurricane Dorian - the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane on record - is now packing sustained winds of up to 165mph (270km/h) and may cause a storm surge of up to 23ft (7m). There is no official word on casualties but the Red Cross fears some 13,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. The hurricane is moving slowly west, with the eastern US coast at risk. The US states of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency. Grab the Disaster app below to always be informed. Here it is another beautiful day in Southern Spain with 31 Centigrade and 48 humidity.
How are conditions in your part of the planet? Comment below, including your location. It is always great to hear the local perspectives from our global community.
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