190 pages, 3 line diagrams, 24 half-tones, 117 colour plates
At the end of a star's life, it wraps itself in a cocoon by spilling out gas and dust. Sometime later, a butterfly-like nebula emerges from the cocoon and develops into a planetary nebula. They are among the most beautiful of the celestial objects imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Their structures, like bubbles floating in the void, are complemented by a kaleidoscope of colour emitted by glowing gases. Delicate, lacelike, streamers of gas add to their complexity. The production of a planetary nebula by a star is a milestone in the life of a star, an event that foretells the doom of the star when its central energy source runs out. In this book, Sun Kwok tells the story of the discovery process of the creation of planetary nebulae and of the future of the Sun. Full colour illustrations are included throughout the book.
'In this book, Sun Kwok tells the story of the discovery process of the creation of planetary nebulae and of the future of the Sun.' Europe & Astronomy 'Despite the more than one hundred beautiful Hubble Space Telescope (HST images, this is not just another 'pretty' coffee-table book ! a good but brief discussion of the images, their acquisition with the HST and subsequent processing, rounds off this fine work ! the visual appeal of this book is enormous.' Auke Slotegraaf, MNASSA '! the highlight of this superbly produced volume is the collection of nearly 100 beautiful images of planetary nebulae - few of which were previously available.' Don Pollacco, The Observatory '! this is an excellent book. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in one of the most fascinating classes of object in the night sky. If you want to know how the Sun will evolve in a few billion years time, this is the book to read.' Stewart Moore, The Webb Society Deep Sky Observer
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