Mysterious image puzzles NASA astronomers

Dubbed the Hand of God

nustar14-01a_galleryThe following comes from a Jan. 10 story on Spero News.

A mysterious image has astronomers and other observers of the heavens wondering. The color-enhanced image shows what was left of a star that exploded about 17,000 light years away from earth. Resembling the x-ray of a hand, some astronomers are calling it the “Hand of God.”

Scientists are not certain whether the hand shape is an optical illusion or not.

The image shows a pulsar wind nebula, or dying star. It is not known whether the nebula resembles a human hand because of the interaction of stellar particles with magnetic fields, or if the particles are hand-shaped. According to the NuSTAR statement, “The stellar corpse, called PSR B1509-58, or B1509 for short, is a pulsar: it rapidly spins around, seven times per second, firing out a particle wind into the material around it — material that was ejected in the star’s explosion.”

The image combines images taken by NuSTAR and the Chandra x-ray observatory.  NuSTAR has imaged the pulsar in high-energy X-rays, which are shown in blue. Lower-energy X-ray light detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory previously is shown in green and red.

The star is approximately 12 miles in diameter and spins at about seven revolutions per second. As it revolves, the star emits particles thrown out during the star’s violent death.

NASA launched the NuSTAR space telescope into the void in 2012 with the intention of providing data on black holes, exploding and dead stars, as well as “other extreme objects” said a statement from NuSTAR.

To read the original story, click here.

 

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Comments

  1. It’s 17,000 light years from Earth. It might not even exist in that form today at all. If any light leaves the area today, it won’t get here for 17,000 years.

    Science is fascinating, but too many scientists seem to deny God when they really just want to take His place. Lots of what they believe is stretched very thin. Extreme extrapolation, exaggeration, and many jumps to unwarranted conclusions gave us things such as “Global Warming” for example. I tend to take what they say with several grains of sodium chloride.

    • St. Peter says:

      Ted, your comment on unwarranted conclusions by scientist on global warming made me think of this passage from Genesi Ad Litteram by Saint Augustine, Doctor of the Church:

      Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Unusual that I would take a position more conservative than St. Peter! But here goes: Look I think you are onto something that, in a world where we understand physics from the subatomic particles all the way up to invisible black wholes (well we understand SOMETHING about them, not everything), that we would then imagine to see an image that God or Mary had planted their for us, well we just look ridiculous. It is no better, really, than seeing the Shroud of Turin in a piece of toast!

        On the other hand, when we are inspired by the awe around us, whether it is something in the shape we think we recognize or in the absolute brilliance of biological evolution, it CAN be an opportunity to appreciate the Creator working in and through the Creation. The Creator’s work IS awesome, and in every element of creation, seen with the eyes of awe, are a window onto the Creator. Sparrows, wolves, Brother Sun and Sister Moon, are all opportunities for modern Franciscans to see God’s hand.

  2. I first saw it and thought it looked more like an angel holding a harp or something. Didn’t notice the hand at all.

  3. The hand of our Lord being held back by our Lady.

  4. Catholic Orthodoxy says it can’t be more than 6,000 years old. Why, because the Bible told me so.

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