New photographs released by NASA have captured images of a vast stellar formation resembling a human hand reaching across space.
The image, taken by NASA’s space-based Chandra Observatory telescope, shows an X-ray nebula 150 light years across. It shows what appear to be ghostly blue fingers — thumb and pinky clearly discernible from index, ring and middle digits — reaching into a sparkling cloud of fiery red. NASA says the display is caused by a young and powerful pulsar, known by the rather prosaic name of PSR B1509-58. “The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand,” NASA says. The space agency says B1509 — created by a collapsed star — is one of the most powerful electromaginetic generators in the Galaxy. The nebula is formed by a torrent of electrons and ions emitted by the 1,700-year-old phenomenon. The finger-like structures are apparently caused by “energizing knots of material in a neighboring gas cloud,” NASA says.