Now that the seasons have changed, spooky season has officially arrived. It's once again that time of the year where anyone and everyone from Spirit Halloween to NASA aims to get as spooky as possible. In the case of the latter, the space agency shared a creepy picture Saturday, showcasing a cosmic horror in the form of a nebula.
In a post to Instagram, NASA shared a snapshot of the Helix Nebula, a cosmic cloud floating in the constellation Aquarius. Due to dying star at the center of it, the cloud gives the appearance of an all-watching eye—one terrifying enough that it'd make Sauron jealous.
If you're afraid this horror may eat you alive while you sleep, fret not. The Helix Nebula is located some 650 light-years away. "When some stars run out of fuel, they expand, forming a red giant and their outer layers peel off," NASA says in the Instagram post. "After the outer layers shed, a hot core remains, forming a white dwarf star, known as a planetary nebula, a fate that awaits our Sun in about 5 billion years."
In total, NASA used four different observatories to capture the full Hellish picture.
"This image was created by overlapping images from four of our telescopes," the agency added. "Each telescope looks at the universe in different wavelengths of light: the visual spectrum from @NASAHubble is shown in in orange and blue; X-Rays from Chandra in white; infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in green and red; and ultraviolet light from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer in cyan."
This isn't the first time NASA officials have unveiled pictures of the Helix Nebula. This time last year, the outfit shared an even scarier version of the cloud.
"The two-light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf, is an example of a planetary nebula, one of the final stages in the evolution of a Sun-like star. The dust makes this cosmic eye gleam red," NASA explained in the post at the time.
It added, "The nebular material was ejected from the star many thousands of years ago, the close-in dust could be generated by collisions in a reservoir of objects, like our own solar system's Kuiper Belt or cometary Oort cloud. Formed in the distant planetary system, the comet-like bodies have otherwise survived the dramatic late stages of the star's evolution."0comments