There are many bizarre things in the universe, and one of them is this Jack-o’-lantern nebula. This cosmic hollowed-out pumpkin is caused by powerful outflows of radiation and particles from a massive star — known as an O-type star and approximately 15-20 times heavier than the Sun — has swept the surrounding dust / gas outward, thus creating deep gouges in the cloud. The colors you see are from infrared light captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Read more for a video and additional information.
The high-contrast version of this image makes the red wavelength is more pronounced, and when the red and green wavelengths are combined, they create an orange hue. The picture showcases contours in the dust as well as the densest regions of the nebula, which appear brightest. An artist’s drawing was overlaid to give it an actual Jack-o’-lantern look.
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