There are a huge variety of planetary nebula (although I am told the proper term is stellar-remnant nebula).
Like the ring nebula in Lyra.
The Cat’s Eye nebula in Draco.
And many others.
These lovely denizens of deep space once foretold how our little sun would one day end up…well maybe not.
Astronomers now think that most planetary nebula only happen in binary star systems (like Tatooine). Most star systems that we have researched are binary systems, some even have more suns, but most are binary. The new calculations have called into question the long held theory that planetary nebula came from single stars with low to intermediate mass.
The newest study has determined that in order to solve problems with single star planetary nebula formation that most planetary nebulae are shaped via interaction with a binary companion.
So it seems that there won’t be any neat aftermath when Sol finally runs out of fuel and goes bang! It just seems likely now that all that may be left is a white dwarf and a bunch of dust.
Now I feel like we are in the cosmic boonies. Well, I guess that is what we get for living near a small, low mass, single star on the fringes of the galaxy. Just our luck.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +