This space wallpaper shows an example of a bipolar planetary nebula known as NGC 6537 taken with the New Technology Telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. The shape, reminiscent of a butterfly or an hourglass, was formed as a Sun-like star approached the end of its life and puffed its outer layers into the surrounding space. For bipolar nebulae, this material is funneled towards the poles of the ageing star, creating the distinctive double-lobed structure. This image was released Sept. 4, 2013.
(Image: © ESO)