This is why I love astronomy! We can look into the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond. One of the first times I looked through the 30 inch telescope at the observatory I gasped at the beauty of the star cluster in the eyepiece. Then when I found out how far away that star cluster was, well I was stunned.
At the top of the observation tower at the state park, I can see for miles. But through the telescope I can see for light years, and that’s just with a backyard telescope! Now add the power of something like the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and, well see for yourself.
This photo has been making quite a stir on the internet. I hate to admit this, but I wasn’t aware of it until a co-worker of mine brought it to my attention. They’re calling this the Hand of God. It’s both beautiful and a bit haunting. It reminds me that we’re really quite small in this universe we live in.
This pulsar wind nebula had previously been detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in lower-energy X-ray light, which is the green and red. Recently NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array or NuSTAR imaged the object in high-energy x-rays for the first time. The results of that are shown in blue. The bright white spot in the center is a pulsar that’s spinning at a phenomenal rate of 7 times per second!
Seeing images like this keeps me looking up. It makes those late nights searching for an elusive fuzz ball worthwhile. For more amazing pictures that will both inspire and amaze you, you might want to check out the Hubble Site, or the Astronomy Picture of the Day.
If you have a favorite astronomy picture we’d love to see it! Let us know why it inspires you!