Cosmic death -
The “wings” in this photo are created by a dying star forming a planetary nebula, named M2-9, which is 2,100 light-years away. It’s called a butterfly nebula, because of its wing-like structure.
M2-9 is actually a bit of a mystery, as are all planetary nebulae.
"M2-9, a butterfly planetary nebula 2100 light-years away shown in representative colors, has wings that tell a strange but incomplete tale. In the center, two stars orbit inside a gaseous disk 10 times the orbit of Pluto. The expelled envelope of the dying star breaks out from the disk creating the bipolar appearance. Much remains unknown about the physical processes that cause planetary nebulae."
More from NASA.GOV: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130915.html