Mary Anna (28
"Astronomy Picture of
the Day -,Dec. 27, 2011- What will become of our sun?"
Explanation: The first hint of what will
become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At
that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse
objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on
Messier's list, now known as M27 or the Dumbbell Nebula, is a
planetary nebula, the type of nebula our Sun will produce when
nuclear fusion stops in its core. M27 is one of the
brightest planetary nebulae on the sky, and can be seen toward
the constellation of the Fox (Vulpecula) with binoculars.
It takes light about 1000 years to reach us from M27, shown
above in colors emitted by hydrogen and oxygen.
Understanding the physics and significance of M27 was well
beyond 18th century science. Even today, many things remain
mysterious about bipolar planetary nebula like
[ http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html ]