NASA Thinks This Nebula Looks Like Winter
Even NASA is getting in the holiday spirit.
The organization released a new composite photo of NGC 6357, a nebula located roughly 5,500 light-years away from Earth, this week.
“Although there are no seasons in space, this cosmic vista invokes thoughts of a frosty winter landscape,” NASA editor Lee Mohon posted in a statement.
NASA called the nebula a “Cosmic ‘Winter’ Wonderland.” However, in other seasons the nebula is also called the “Lobster Nebula” or the “War and Peace Nebula.”
The wintry image isn’t exactly how the nebula looks out is space. It was created as a composite of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope), the ROSAT telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope’s SuperCosmos Sky Survey. Each image collected different colors from the nebula, which were then pieced together to create the fantastic image.
NGC 6357 is technically a “cluster of clusters,” located in the constellation Scorpius. It is composed of at least three clusters of young stars in addition to many “hot, massive, luminous stars,” according to NASA. It also contains bubbles from radiation and supernova explosions.
Scientists believe that by studying these sorts of formations, they can learn more about the creation of stars and, ultimately, the galaxy.