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Photos: Butterfly & Jewel Bug Nebulas

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Stars can turn into swirling cosmic pinwheels near the end of their lives. Cases in point, NGC 6302, known as the Butterfly nebula for its wing-like appearance, and NGC 7027, dubbed Jewel Bug for its resemblance to an insect with a colorful shell. Newly captured images from the Hubble Space Telescope show in incredible detail how stars went haywire within NGC 7027 causing a new celestial cloverleaf pattern to emerge. Images of NGC 6302 show a pair of stars at the center of the nebula ejecting matter into the unusual and spellbinding butterfly-shaped gas and dust clouds. The new Hubble images are helping researchers understand the mechanisms of the underlying chaos.


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