A new composite image showcases the “Christmas Tree Cluster” of young stars located about 2,500 light-years away from Earth. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

Technology USA25. December 2023

Cosmos Decked With Holiday Cheer!

Two NASA space telescopes have captured images from a group of young stars that take the shape of a Christmas tree and from a dwarf galaxy that resembles a sparkling snow globe, decorating the cosmos with twinkling and festive lights!

NGC 2264 – or the Christmas Tree Cluster – is located about 2,500 light-years from Earth, while UGC 8091, a scintillating snow globe, is 7 million light-years from Earth in the Virgo constellation.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory captured images from the first cosmic phenomenon, and the Hubble Space Telescope, the second one. NGC 2264 – identifying two astronomical objects, the Christmas Tree Cluster and the Cone Nebula – is a group of young stars surrounded by a gaseous cloud that recalls a cosmic evergreen with twinkling lights. Between 1 million and 5 million years old, the stars vary in size; some are smaller than our sun, and some are larger. The new composite image is rotated clockwise by 160 degrees so that the top of the tree is upright. As for the billion stars that sparkle within the dwarf galaxy named UGC 8091, images were taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys between 2006 and 2021. Astronomers learn about galactic evolution by studying distant dwarf galaxies and their stars, such as NGC 2264 and UGC 8091.


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