Happy Halloween explorers! Space just got spookier with the discovery of a carved-out pumpkin nebula on Halloween by NASA.
It’s Halloween! NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured a spooky view of a carved-out cloud of gas and dust nicknamed the “Jack-o’-lantern Nebula” because it looks like a carved pumpkin screaming into space.
NASA released a GIF of the Spitzer Space Telescope view on Wednesday. The animation outlines the hollowed-out pumpkin, which appears to be screaming into space.
Powerful outflows of radiation and particles from a massive star carved up this space pumpkin. The O-type star is between 15 to 20 times heavier than our sun.
Spitzer detects infrared light invisible to the human eye. So, the image represents different wavelengths of infrared light. The green and red regions in the picture represent light emitted by dust radiating at different temperatures. Meanwhile, the O-type star that carved out the cosmic pumpkin is represented by the white spot near the center of the nebula.
This image is part of a larger study of the Milky Way’s outer region, where clouds of gas and dust are colder and contain less heavy elements. Researchers have analyzed star formation in this region to determine how star and planet formation compares with other regions of the Milky Way.
Researchers published their observations on July 18 in The Astrophysical Journal.