The Strangely Bright Stare Of The Cat's Eye In Space

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Check out that hypnotic glow from the center of this image — it's the brightest central star in a planetary nebula that astronomers have seen so far. Why does the center of the Cat's Eye Nebula shine so intensely?

NASA created this image of the Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) by combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra Observatory. That super-bright central star is surrounded by multi-million degree gas. [NASA]