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April 19 2013

Astronomers hint that our Sun won't terminate as the typical planetary nebula

Textbooks often cite that planetary nebulae (PNe, plural) represent an endstate for lower-mass single stars. But conversely, recent research suggests that most PNe stem from binary systems. The lowest mass star theorized to form the typical PN is near 1 solar mass, and thus without a companion the Sun may not surpass the mass limit required to generate the hot glowing (ionized) nebula typically tied to PNe. New research continues to question our original understanding of how the Sun's life may end.

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