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The Egg Nebula
The concentric shells of gas and dust that form this preplanetary nebula reflect light from an inner star, giving the Egg Nebula (also known as RAFGL 2688) its curious appearance.
The dust near the center is thick, blocking out any view of the central star. As it slowly begins to turn into a white dwarf, the star’s light reflects off the outer wisps of gas.
This is a false-color image created to show the effects of a phenomenon known as polarization. While unpolarized electromagnetic radiation vibrates in all directions, the dust grains in each concentric shell only reflect the light along one plane.
You can see the Egg Nebula in visible and infrared light here (image courtesy ESA/Hubble & NASA).
Image: NASA, W. Sparks (STScI) and R. Sahai (JPL)