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Home>>Photo >> Science
09:00, April 16, 2009

"God's Hand" captured; shape spanning 150 light years

A photo of Pulsar B1509 taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory(Photo: NASA)

It looks like a hand of God reaching out into the cosmos, but NASA says the display is caused by a young and powerful pulsar.

Taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory from it's orbiting 360 miles above the Earth, the recently released photo of Pulsar B1509 captures the X-Ray nebula in a state shaped like a human hand.

"The finger-like structures are apparently caused by energizing knots of material in a neighboring gas cloud," NASA said.

This is a picture taken by NASA with the Hubble telescope in 2003. They are referring to it as the "Eye of God". What it actually depicts is the so-called Helix Nebula, described by astronomers as "a trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases." At its center is dying star which has ejected masses of dust and gas to form tentacle-like filaments stretching toward an outer rim composed of the same material. (Photo: NASA)

NASA estimates the shape spans 150 light years, but it is caused by a dense neutron star that's just 12 miles in diameter.

Astronomers believe B1509 is roughly 1,700 years old and is located 17,000 light years from Earth.

Source: Xinhuanet/Agencies

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