This is the Cat's Eye nebula. It is the first known example of a planetary nebula, which is gas and dust ejected by a dying star. The star has finished its main sequence (hydrogen-burning) lifetime and has collapsed into a white dwarf (center). Shells of gas surrounding the star were ejected by winds when the star was a red giant. The shells of gas are expanding into space and will ultimately fade from view. Photo Credit: Prof. J.P. Harrington (U. Maryland) Sept. 18, 1994.