The Hubble Space Telescope has recently released a new image of the Necklace Nebula, described by the European Space Agency (ESA) as “a diamond necklace of cosmic proportions”.
Located 15,000 light-years away from Earth in the distant constellation of Sagitta, the Necklace Nebula consists of tightly packed masses of gas that receive ultraviolet light from nearby stars, giving the appearance of diamonds in a necklace.
According to NASA, the nebula was born after “two doomed stars” collided with one another approximately 10,000 years ago. One of these stars expanded, engulfing its smaller twin in the process in an event astronomers call a ‘common envelope’.
NASA first discovered the giant cosmic necklace in 2011. But the latest photo, taken from several shots using the Wide Field Camera 3 onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, dial it up to high-res. Celestial jewels have never looked more glorious.
“The pair of stars which created the Necklace Nebula remain so close together – separated by only several million miles – that they appear as a single bright dot in the center of this image. Despite their close encounter, the stars are still furiously whirling around each other, completing an orbit in just over a day,” said the ESA.
“We’re starry-eyed by this diamond necklace of cosmic proportions!” NASA Hubble Telescope wrote on Twitter.
Last week, the space exploration agency’s Ingenuity helicopter captured the first-ever colour image of Mars. According to NASA, it is the “first colour image of the Martian surface taken by an aerial vehicle while it was aloft”. In another milestone, scientists at NASA have also created oxygen on Mars, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.