SHEDDING LAYERS A sunlike star casts off its atmosphere in a series of 1,500-year-interval bursts, creating an intricate pattern of bubbles and rings in the Cat’s Eye Nebula.
BIRTHING PAINS Jets of gas from newborn stars erupt from Mystic Mountain, a stellar nursery 7,500 light-years away in the Carina Nebula.
FENDER BENDER A wispy bridge of gas tens of thousands of light-years long connects two galaxies that recently nicked one another, contorting both galaxies and creating a new generation of stars (blue).
ISLAND OF STARS Spiral arms of hydrogen gas (red) mingle with swaths of young star clusters (blue) in the spiral galaxy M106, which sits about 23 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. The image is a composite from Hubble and two amateur telescopes in New Mexico.
FEELING EXPOSED A dying star in the Helix Nebula reveals the once hidden onion-like layering of elements – such as hydrogen and oxygen – as the star’s atmosphere drifts away. The image is a composite from Hubble and a telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.