Work caught up with me before I finished a post, so until I do finish it, a little something for your entertainment and edification.
Via Astronomy Picture of the Day comes this Hubble image (click to embiggen), not a galaxy but a star 3000 light years away, LL Pegasi, more precisely a binary star. The cause of the spiral is uncertain, but according to Sky & Telescope it may be the swan dance of the seven veils, to mix some metaphors, by a dying red giant star that is shedding its outer layers on its way to becoming a white dwarf. The outer layers will in due course light up as a planetary nebula, but for now they are being spun off in a stream, forming an Archimedean spiral. The spacing between streams, 800 years, corresponds to the binary motion of the dying star and its companion.
It all sounds vaguely torrid.
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