A Chaotic Nebula

The gas and dust shells of ESO 455-10 would have been initially held tightly together as layers of its central star, but the distinct asymmetrical arc of material over the north side of the nebula is a clear sign of chaotic interactions between it and the interstellar medium. The star at the center of ESO 455-10 allows use to see the interaction with the gas and dust of the nebula, the surrounding interstellar medium, and the intense light from the star itself.

Planetary nebulae like ESO 455-10 are crucial in galactic enrichment because they distribute the heavier metal elements produced inside a star into the interstellar space where they will in time form the stuff of planets.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA