National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s latest Instagram post is all about the glorious cosmic jewels. The American space agency shared a photograph of an interstellar cloud known as Necklace Nebula on its Instagram handle on Wednesday.
The picture, captured by the Hubble telescope, looks like a giant emerald stone studded in space. Captioning the image, NASA’s Hubble Telescope used the famous Mean Girls dialogue where Regina George played by Rachel McAdams says, “Get in loser we’re going shopping.”
The caption further explained that the marvelous nebula is located around 15,000 light-years away from Earth and it is the glowing aftermath of a star that had exploded. The nebula is located in the constellation Sagitta. The composite image was taken on July 2, 2011 by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 that captured the glow of hydrogen that is in blue colour, oxygen, which is green, and nitrogen that is red. The Necklace Nebula is surrounded by a bright ring that runs about 12 trillion miles across. The nebula is also studded with dense, bright knots of gas that resemble diamonds in a necklace and hence it gets its name the ‘necklace nebula’.
NASA’s Hubble explained that a pair of stars orbiting close together produced the nebula. Around 10,000 years ago, one of the aging stars ballooned and exploded to the point where it engulfed its companion star. However, the smaller star continued to orbit inside its larger companion, increasing the giant’s rotation rate, explains NASA Hubble telescope.
The ballooned companion star spun at such a high rate that a large part of its gaseous envelope expanded into space and due to centrifugal force, most of the gas escaped along the star’s equator, producing a ring. The embedded bright knots that resemble diamond are dense gas clumps in the ring.
The post has garnered over 96,160 likes since it was shared. One of the users commented, “Yes, I would like to have an emerald please.” While another user wrote, “How lucky who works in NASA(SIC).”For some, the picture just demonstrated the vastness and the beauty of space while for some the nebula was a pure work of art.