Image of the Month - May 2019
Congratulations to Guy Wells (via Facebook) who won the May competition, his Dumbbell Nebula is absolutely stunning!
This is a wonderful example of a planetary nebula, one of the final phases of a low mass stars lifetime. Indeed in around 4.5 billion years our own Sun may look something like this, as it completes it red giant phase, where the star expands, burning any fuel remaining in it's outer layers, before it finally runs dry. The star then collapses down gradually to form a white dwarf (which can be seen in the centre of the Dumbbell Nebula), and all of the material being lost from the star surrounds it before drifting off into space, producing these spectacular objects.
Guy has done some beautiful processing on this object, the background is particularly impressive, with a lot more detail visible than is normally seen.