Overview: Planetary Nebula NGC 2440

of "Lithograph: Planetary Nebula NGC 2440"
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Lithograph: Planetary Nebula NGC 2440 (PDF)
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This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the colorful "last hurrah" of a star like our Sun. The star is ending its life by casting off its outer layers of gas, which formed a cocoon around the star's remaining core. The burned-out star, one of the hottest known white dwarfs, is the white dot in the center of the image. Our Sun will eventually burn out and shroud itself with stellar debris, but not for another 5 billion years. Includes an inquiry-based classroom activity.
Format(s) available: PDF
Grades: 10-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion.
How to use it in the classroom

Teachers can use Lithograph: Planetary Nebula NGC 2440 as:

An example of the end of Sun-like stars. Use the inquiry-based classroom activity called "In Search of Stellar Death" that is included with the PDF lithograph.

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the image side of the lithograph. Ask them to write down three to five questions they have about the image. When the students are finished, their questions can be used in a variety of ways:

• Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

• Have students exchange papers so that each student has someone else's questions. Then have students find the answers to their partner’s questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

• Gather the questions into a list by asking students to volunteer to read their questions while you or another student records them on the board or on the overhead projector transparency. Ask students to raise their hands if they had the same or a similar question. Count the number of raised hands and record it next to the question. Once all the questions have been added to the list, ask students to search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they complete that task, ask them to decide if each of their questions was answered completely, answered partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of the questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those that were partially answered, and an "N" for those that were not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions also were answered completely. Encourage students to pursue further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the lithograph and then write a quiz for the class.

Related materials

HubbleSite press release: "The Colorful Demise of a Sun-like Star"

HubbleSite press release: "Hubble Heritage Project's First Anniversary"

HubbleSite press release: "The Glorious End of Stellar Life and Life on the Edge"

HubbleSite press release: "How Pulsars Are Formed and A History of the Crab Nebula"

See the Galaxies section on "Teaching tools" page.

Go to the resource

Overview: Planetary Nebula NGC 2440