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A fleeting moment in time: Last breath of a dying star

The faint, ephemeral glow emanating from the planetary nebula ESO 577-24 persists for only a short time -- around 10,000 years, a blink of an eye in astronomical terms. ESO's Very Large Telescope captured this shell of glowing ionized gas -- the last breath of the dying star whose simmering remains are visible at the heart of this image. As the gaseous shell of this planetary nebula expands and grows dimmer, it will slowly disappear from sight.

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