Galactic Grimace: NASA Captures Eerie ‘Skull-Shaped’ Star Cluster Amidst the Cosmic Beauty of the Rosette Nebula

This star-studded picture initially seems like a skull, but it’s actually a portion of the Rosette Nebula.

The darker region of Rosette is a nursery for newly formed stars.

Does the portion of the Rosette Nebula in this image resemble a skull? If it does, you are not the only one.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shared a composite image that shows a portion of the Rosette Nebula, named for its rose-shaped arrangement, which lies about 5,000 light-years from Earth. This image of stars may at first appear to be a human skull, however this is really an optical illusion.

Sharing the image on its Instagram page, the space agency wrote that “a cluster of stars resembles a colourful human skull in space. Red X-ray observations reveal hundreds of young stars near the centre of the image. Large, dense pockets of purple, orange, green, and blue gases interlaid with dust form the bone structure of this cosmic skull. Within the eye cavities of the skull, bright blue stars stand out against the darkness of space.”

“The slurry of dust and gas creating the bone structure is visibly denser in the bottom right of the image, creating a thick shroud blocking the sight of newly forming stars in the region. The uppermost corners of the image reveal a background of the blackness of space with sprinklings of stars throughout.”

Numerous newborn star clusters may be seen in the image’s centre and on either side, as well as other, fainter clusters, thanks to Chandra data.

These super-hot stars, called O-stars, have blown layers of dust and gas away with their powerful radiation and winds, revealing a cavity of cooler dust.

Post a comment Some of Rosette’s O-stars can be seen in the bubble-like cavity; however, the two largest stars in this picture are not in the nebula itself.


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