The Soot Enshrouded End of a Sun-like Star
The Coronagraphic Imager with Adaptive Optics (CIAO) on the Subaru telescope captured this near-infrared (wavelengths of 1.25 - 2.2 microns) image of a star at the end of its life.
BD +303639 is a planetary nebula, similar to the Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra, the Harp. It is about five thousand light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
More info: Subaru telescope web page