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Spooky Astronomy, part 3

Another Halloween is upon us again and that means it’s time for some more… [spooky voice] Haunted Astronomical Imagery!

But first I wanted to do a quick plug for our 2nd Annual Halloween Science Costume Contest!. Check out this blog for details on how to enter!

Now, back to our terrifying celestial imagery!

The glowing eye of this Terminator is really another star-forming region called NGC 2467.

"Terminator Nebula"
Credit: ESO

A celestial Witch’s broom? Or the Pencil Nebula? Either way it is the remains of a huge stellar explosion.

The Pencil Nebula, a strangely shaped leftover from a vast explosion
Credit: ESO

To paraphrase Phil Plait in his Halloween Astronomy gallery, Angry Nebula is Angry. (It’s actually the Tarantula Nebula, and unlike the above image, which was of stellar death, this image shows a birthplace for stars.)

Tarantula Nebula
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL/PSU/L.Townsley et al.

Next up, the creepy Skull Nebula (also known as planetary nebula NGC 246).

"Skull Nebula"
Credit: Gemini South GMOS/Travis Rector/U. of Alaska Anchorage

Spectral hand or young pulsar creating complex structures in space from the energy it is spewing out?

PSR B1509-58: A young pulsar shows its hand
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.

Scary faces aren’t only in space – how about this one on land? Says the Landsat team, “The scary face in this image is actually inundated patches of shallow Lake Eyre (pronounced “air”) in the desert country of northern South Australia. An ephemeral feature of this flat, parched landscape, Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest lake when it’s full. However in the last 150 years, it has filled completely only three times.”

Lake Eyre
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS

View, if you dare, the flying spectre beyond the Veil. Or rather in the Veil Nebula. Or peek at the spider that attacked the space shuttle Atlantis. Or so it would seem!

How about some spooky sounds? You might get a scare from the ‘sounds’ spacecraft record. How can space craft record sounds? Well, they have instruments that record data that can be converted into sound files, which help scientists better understand the observations.

Here are our spooky astronomy images from 2011 and 2010 – they’re worth checking out if you haven’t seen them!

1 Comment

  • Miranda Bonham says:

    I love this — to me stars are so spiritual. WE are made of stardust ! What beautiful photos. These star photos though do look a little spooky now that you brought it up !

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