The Red Rectangle in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn) roughly 2,300 light-years away, also known as star HD 44179, is a unique illustration of a proto-planetary nebula. The image captured by the Hubble space telescope unveils that rather than a rectangle, the nebula is an X with dense dust filling out the "rectangle" shape. This star, similar to our sun, is nearing the end of its life thus spewing gas and other substances which will eventually create a planetary nebula. [More Hubble Images.]
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.