The Sharpless Angel Looks Sharp!

Aware of the classical morphology of angelic beings (” … each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.” (Isa 6:2)) I still like the spread of holiday spirit with this image above, making the rounds of the astroblogs today. A more scientific explanation:

The bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, or S106 for short, looks like a soaring, celestial snow angel. The outstretched “wings” of the nebula record the contrasting imprint of heat and motion against the backdrop of a colder medium. Twin lobes of super-hot gas, glowing blue in this image, stretch outward from the central star. This hot gas creates the “wings” of our angel. A ring of dust and gas orbiting the star acts like a belt, cinching the expanding nebula into an “hourglass” shape.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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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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