Even the stars celebrate the holiday season. A new image of NGC 2264, also known as the Christmas Tree Cluster, has been released by NASA, and it’s absolutely stunning. They even colored the dust and gas around the cluster in green to give it the look of a newly cut Christmas tree standing upright.
NGC 2264 is a cluster of young stars located 2,500 light-years away from Earth. It is believed that the cluster contains stars between one and five million years of age. Some stars are bigger than the Sun, while others smaller. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently imaged the cluster.
Optical data of the Christmas Tree Cluster was also taken from the National Science Foundation’s WIYN 0. 9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, and that data shows the gas in the nebula in a beautiful green color, giving the cluster the appearance of pine needles on a tree. That data was combined with the observations made by the Chandra X-ray observatory, and the below image was created.
Usually, the cluster rests more on its side, but the image was rotated 160 degrees from the astronomer standard of North, pointing upward to give the cluster an authentic tree appearance.
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The young stars found in clusters like NGC 2264 are volatile and produce intense flares in X-rays, NASA explains in its image reveal. The editors behind the new image also created a composite image that shows blinking variations of some of the stars, which only solidifies the look of a Christmas tree as the stars blink on and off like Christmas lights.
NASA used Chandra data to create an image showing an eerie, ghostly hand floating in space ,. The X-ray microscope has also been a valuable tool in the search for the universe. Chandra has been a huge success, as this latest image shows.
The post NASA telescope captures photo of ‘Christmas Tree Cluster’ just in time for the holidays appeared first on BGR.