New photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal an "unusually perfect" celestial spiral.
Astronomers think that the spiral is being caused by the death of one of the stars in the binary system, LL Pegasi. As its life slowly fades, scientists conjecture that its outer layer of gas is being picked up by the corkscrew orbit of its still shining twin. The dying star is itself is hidden, but it's ejecting material at about 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) an hour, the researchers calculate, forming a new ring in the spiral every 800 years.
"'If a single star was sitting still, it would eject matter in all directions at roughly the same speed,' said Raghvendra Sahai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."
Image courtesy of Nasa.gov