It's that time of year when astronomical outfits release their loveliest, stitched together, false-color images of various parts of the universe.
Presented here for your holiday cheer are images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak.
The NASA Hubble shot is of NGC 5189.
"Planetary nebulae represent a final brief stage in the life of a star like the Sun. While consuming the last of the fuel in its core, the star expels a large portion of its outer regions, which then heats up and glows brightly, showing intricate structures that scientists are still trying to fully understand. The structure visible within NGC 5189 is particularly dramatic, and Hubble’s image of the nebula is by far the most detailed yet made of this object."
The WIYN Telescope image was released by one of its partners, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which said:
"As an end of the year finale, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and WIYN partners offer this new wide-field image of the Cygnus loop. Three degrees on a side, this image covers an area of the sky about 45 times that of the full Moon. But it does so without sacrificing high resolution. The image is over 600 million pixels in size, making it one of the largest astronomical images ever made.
The Cygnus Loop is a large supernova remnant: the gaseous remains of a massive star that exploded long ago. It is located about 1,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan."
Enjoy! And Happy Holidays from the Scientific Bent team.