Astronomical Angel

I’ve been avidly following Sky-Watching this holiday season as they count down to Christmas with some of the most beautiful astronomy photos I’ve seen. I came across this picture a few days back on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog, as well, and looking at it for the second time I realized that it’s just too beautiful (and seasonal) not to share.

You should definitely click to enlarge this image to see it in its full beauty.

According to Plait,

This devastatingly beautiful image shows the birth pangs of a massive star. Called IRS 4 (for Infrared Source 4; it was first seen in IR images), it’s the really bright star just below center where the two blue lobes come together. It’s a bruiser, an O-type star with at least 15 times the Sun’s mass — 30 octillion tons! — and is a staggering 10,000 times as bright. It’s still in the process of forming, but it’s nearly there.

He has much more detailed information on his site, and I highly recommend giving it a read.
Happy Holidays!
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5 thoughts on “Astronomical Angel

  1. Truly a beautiful post. I am reminded of W.H. Auden’s outstanding poem “The More Loving One”:

    Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
    That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
    But on earth indifference is the least
    We have to dread from man or beast.

    How should we like it were stars to burn
    With a passion for us we could not return?
    If equal affection cannot be,
    Let the more loving one be me.

    Admirer as I think I am
    Of stars that do not give a damn,
    I cannot, now I see them, say
    I missed one terribly all day.

    Were all stars to disappear or die,
    I should learn to look at an empty sky
    And feel its total dark sublime,
    Though this might take me a little time.

    • I’ve been to NYC a million times and have yet to visit the planetarium. It is on my must do list. Maybe I’ll make it up there sometime this coming year and this time make it a point to visit it.

  2. Pingback: Blake’s Adoration of the Magi…and stars. | Intelligent Life

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