NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured stunning images of the Butterfly and the Jewel Bug nebulae in unprecedented detail.
Through stars have gone haywire, these "metallic jewel bug in the sky" are created, throwing off jets and hot gas bubbles as they undergo a violent death.
The new images show the two young planetary nebulae in the full spectrum of light-from ultraviolet to infrared, giving a rare glimpse of their make-up to astronomers.
Death of a star
Astronomers have been able to use highly detailed images to obtain a better understanding of how the planetary nebulae are formed and why they have 'bizarre forms.'
One theory proposed as part of the image release suggests that a binary pair of stars in the nebulae causes the shape-pushing the ejected matter about.
Some stars lead placid lives for millions to billions of years. According to astronomers, the stars become 'mad whirligigs' puffing off jets of gas at the end of their lives.
With dramatic fashion, most stars die-think of it as an old car that fires back and sputters when it runs out of fuel.
NASA claimed that most stars lead placid lives like nuclear fusion reactors for hundreds of millions to billions of years.
The space agency explained that stars can turn into crazy whirligigs, puffing off shells and jets of hot gas. In the image shown above, NGC 7027 resembles a jewel bug, an insect with a brilliantly colorful metallic shell.
The researchers found unprecedented levels of complexity at the center of each nebula and rapid changes in the jets and gas bubbles that blast off the stars.
By analyzing images recorded in this level of detail, researchers can get closer to the processes underlying this chaos in nature.
Such objects were historically imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, but not for several years and never before with the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument across its full spectrum of wavelengths - allowing observations in near-ultraviolet to near-infrared light.
Joel Kastner, the study lead author, told DailyMail these new Hubble multi-wavelength observations give the most comprehensive view of both of these spectacular nebulae to date.
"The [Jewel Bug nebula] shows emission at an incredibly large number of different wavelengths; each of them highlights not only a specific chemical element in the nebula but also the significant, ongoing changes in its structure," said Kastner.
These nebulae are considered to be among the dustiest planetary nebulae. Both also contain huge amounts of gas because they are so freshly formed. That makes them an exciting pair to study in parallel, researchers said.
Dying stars play essential roles
The new Hubble images reveal in vivid detail how the two nebulae separate on extremely short timescales. This break lets astronomers see shifts in the dust and gas cloud over the past few decades, researchers claim.
When Hubble first looked at this planetary nebula in 1998, researchers now have additional opportunities to study the object. It changes over time by comparing the old and new Hubble observations.
The mechanisms underlying such sequences of stellar-mass expulsion are far from being fully understood. Researchers theorize that binary companions to the central, dying stars play essential roles in shaping them.