This Is What the Death of a Star Really Looks LikeS

This is the best, the most detailed and clearest image of a dying star yet, according to NASA. Pause for a few seconds, expand the image, and really look at it. Imagine all that unstoppable fire in motion, like a real version of the Death Star explosion, but a gazillion times bigger.

Imagine the shockwave that shaped those huge balls of plasma in action. Imagine the roar you would never hear in space. It's simply amazing—magnificent destruction.

Now look at it again and think about this: what you are seeing is not its end yet. This star—the larger sister in the Eta Carinae binary system—is only dying now. It's not dead yet (or, at least, we haven't seen its death yet). This is not its final song, just a last angry outburst that was first observed in the 19th century.

Very soon—in astronomical terms very soon may mean a million years—this incredible image will be nothing compared to what's coming next. A real supernova of such proportions that it will shine much brighter than any other star in firmament.

The Advanced Camera for Surveys High Resolution Channel in the Hubble will not be around when this happens, but our descendants will hopefully be here and will be able to see it in much better detail. "Expect an impressive view from Earth," says NASA.

I wish I could stay here that long. [NASA Goddard Flickr]