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Bruce Balick Follows the Decline and Fall of the Youngest Planetary Nebula

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on December 3, 2020 - 9:38am

The Stingray was already a bright, compact planetary nebula when it first appeared in the 1980s around the frequently observed star SAO 244567. Using twenty years of Hubble Space Telescope images, an international team led by Emeritus Professor Bruce Balick, has discovered that the youngest planetary nebula is rapidly fading into obscurity. Most planetary nebulae take thousands of years to brighten and up to a million years to fade. The Stingray lived a full life in about 40 years.  See the NASA press release or the Sky and Telescope article for more information.

Two side-by-side Hubble Space Telescope images of the Stingray Nebula, one from 1996 and one from 2016, showing how the nebula has faded over time.

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