ghostly image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the disembodied
remains of a dying star, called a planetary nebula. Planetary nebulas
are a late stage in a sun-like star's life, when its outer layers have
sloughed off and are lit up by ultraviolet light from the central star. The
Ghost of Jupiter, also known as NGC 3242, is located roughly 1,400
light-years away in the constellation Hydra. Spitzer's infrared view
shows off the cooler outer halo of the dying star, colored here in red.
Also evident are concentric rings around the object, the result of
material being periodically tossed out in the star's final death throes.
In this image, infrared light at wavelengths of 3.6 microns is rendered in blue, 4.5 microns in green, and 8.0 microns in red.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the
Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate,
Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science
Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Data are
archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared
Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.