This authoritative volume presents a thoroughly modern understanding of planetary nebulae, integrating new developments in stellar physics with the dynamics of nebular evolution. It covers all the stages in the evolution of planetary nebulae, carefully synthesizes observations from across the spectrum and clearly explains all the key physical processes at work. Particular emphasis is placed on recent observations from space, using the Hubble Space Telescope, the Infrared Space Observatory and the ROSAT satellite. Coverage also describes exciting possibilities such as the use of planetary nebulae in determining the cosmic distance scale, the distribution of dark matter and the chemical evolution of galaxies. This book provides graduate students with an accessible introduction to planetary nebulae, and researchers with an authoritative reference. It can also be used as an advanced textbook on the physics of the interstellar medium.