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Section 5

Cosmic Bubbles: This entrancing image shows a few of the tenuous threads that comprise a faint and wispy shell of gas located 5,200 light-years away.

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This large bubble-like structure wrapped around an extremely large, bright type of star known as a Wolf-Rayet Star - this particular star is called EZ Canis Majoris. These type of stars are among the brightest and most massive stars in the universe, tens of times more massive than our own sun, and they represent the extremes of stellar evolution. Thick winds continually poured off the progenitors of such stars, flooding their surroundings and draining the outer layers of the Wolf-Rayet stars. The fast wind of a Wolf-Rayet star therefore sweeps up the surrounding material to form bubbles of gas. Beautiful as these cosmic bubbles are, they are fleeting. The same stars that form them will also cause their death, eclipsing and subsuming them in violent supernova explosions. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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