Far Far Away…

carina

A wonderful, wonderful new image from Hubble, in the week of its 20th year anniversary*. (There is a nice NPR story on the anniversary here. Also, did you see the Google doodle for Hubble, by the way?). What does it look like to you? Here is an image comparing how it looks in the visible part of the spectrum to the infrared:

heic1007b

More from the Hubble site here. They say:

This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall, which is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.

This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around the Earth.

Nice, but mountains? They see mountains first? I see something very different. It looks like an alien coming off the screen toward you. Do you see it?** There’s a horned head at the top, and a powerful body with various arms and forelimbs poised to reach out at you. It is quite wonderful! Wouldn’t it be just fantastic if there were fantastic creatures at this scale though?

-cvj

*Spotted at Phil’s.

**Perhaps this is one of the “bad” aliens that is being discussed in all the ridiculous kerfuffle over Hawking’s most recent press-frenzy-inducing and, er, penetratingly insightful***… remarks.

***No. Not really.

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