NASA‘s Chandra X-ray Observatory has just released a new image show an incredible image of a distant nebula (17,000 light-years away). While naming nebulae after animals or things they resemble is quite common — see the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation, the Crab Nebula, Cat’s Eye, and Horse Head — most of them don’t give you chills.
Combining 14 years of data, the nebula in question is MSH 15-52, or the Cosmic Hand Hitting a Wall/Hand of God. And it looks just like its sounds, a creepy transparent hand reaching for a red brick wall/fiery hole. Astronomers estimate that the light from the nebula, which is the remnants of a supernova explosion, reached earth about 1,700 years ago — making it one of the Milky Way galaxy’s youngest nebula.
The finger-like trails are a result of energy and particles being blown by the pulsar and slowing down at various speeds when hitting the dense neighboring RCW 89 gas cloud. The particles are moving at almost 9 million miles per hour, and up to 11 million miles per hour, which is considered slow when compared to the average 30 million miles per hour. This slow down is due to the dense gas it is moving through thanks to RCW 89. Those interested in learning more can head over to NASA’s homepage.
In other tech news, Virgin Galactic’s stock value soars almost 40% after space flight go ahead.