Do You See Santa?

Some media folks are seeing Santa Claus (right) in this x-ray image of the Orion Nebula. The science:

The high-temperature gas fills a region of the nebula that appears to be a huge cavity in optical and infrared images. The new observations, taken with XMM-Newton’s European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera, suggest that astronomers are seeing only a particular portion of the gas. The X-rays from this portion escape absorption by patches of cold gas covering much of the front of the Orion nebula.

The presence of the hot gas in a fairly common nebula like Orion is surprising. Although theory has predicted such hot gas clouds, previous observations suggested that a large number of massive stars shedding winds, or supernova explosions are required. These are found in some regions of vigorous high-mass star formation, which are scattered only rarely throughout the galaxy. The new observations show that much smaller collections of high mass stars can produce hot gas as well.

Sorry, I don’t see Santa. If you pushed me on it, I would say we have the archangel in orange-yellow appearing to the BVM in blue. But only if you pushed.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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