Hubble telescope shows 'Snow Angel'
December 15th, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Hubble telescope shows 'Snow Angel'

Far, far away in an isolated part of the Milky Way lies a star nursery housing a celestial spectacle so beautiful that the Space Telescope Science Institute has taken to calling it a “Holiday Snow Angel."

Spectacular images and video released by the NASA-built observatory Thursday show a star-forming region in the constellation Cygnus (the Swan) nearly 2,000 light years from Earth.

In official terms, Sharpless 2-106 (doesn’t have the same ring, does it?) gets its looks from an extreme confluence of heat and motion and features a ring of particles that “acts like a belt,” according to a press release. The hourglass-like shape in the middle is created by gaseous particles orbiting the star.

Don't be fooled by the cute name, Hubble spokesman Ray Villard told CNN Thursday in an email.

"Though we nickname this a ‘Snow Angel’ there is nothing angelic about what's happening in the picture," Villard said. "A super-hot star much larger than our sun has twin blowtorches of hot gas shooting out into space. The star is destined for a short life and will then explode as a supernova, disintegrating everything around it."

The nebula of S106 is in a region containing several hundred brown dwarfs, objects that are best described as star-planet hybrids.

The image is a composite of several exposures and was captured in February by Hubble, the release said.

Hubble, a joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Space Telescopic Science Institute, has been churning out awesome images of the cosmos for much of its 20 years in existence.

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Filed under: NASA • Science • Space
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Hubba Bubba

    That should help things here on earth. Take your 50 million dollar picture of a fake snow angle and cram it up your ass.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ooooo

      Anger!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • NobodyIsSafe

      seems as though there wouldn't be any room for it up your own bunghole, HB... from your narrow-minded, ignorant little mini-rant, it appears as though something (or things) must've worked their way past your sphincter, but then couldn't find their way out again, and died up there...

      December 27, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    There you are, PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS.

    Yes, I'm being sarcastic. It makes exactly as much sense as some of the comments posted by atheists on the "God particle" story, over on the main CNN site the other day.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Hubble has sent some amazing images of this universe of ours. Beautiful from a distance of 2000 light years away.
    Look how beautiful our own planet looks from a distance and how it has come to be up close and inhabited with us -the human species.
    Whatever bounties of nature we are left with must be preserved.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    Naming it " Snow Angel" is a ridiculous spin.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ BOMBO:
    I refrained, but you went right ahead.
    When I was fourteen, I saw pieces of naturally formed cross-shaped staurolite in a Tennessee gift shop and accepted them as proof of God's existence.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gung hoe

    @ JIf It makes me happy to hear of people accepting that god does exist,As jesus says in the bible great is the man who has yet to see but still believes

    December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Anger? Who? Me?
    I've certainly never been angry at BOMBO.
    Now, God...

    December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ gung hoe:
    Hello.
    They call me Thomas sometimes.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    @Hubba Bubba:
    I couldn't help it; I lmfao at your comment.
    It made my day.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • justathought

      @ Banasy, Hubba Bubba's comment doesn’t even deserve a reply.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BOMBO

    JIF, I think the "anger" post is directed at the first guy, who had nothing good to say about the picture.

    JIF and gung, for my part I've never understood why anyone tries to have an academic debate about the existance of God. It is a matter of faith. It will never be proven or disproven. I am one of those people who believes there needs to be a "WHY" concerning the very existance of the universe. I find it comforting to beleive that there is some direction behind everything, that it is not all some cosmic accident. Other people, apparently not so much. They are never going to convince me, and I'm never going to convince them.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @JIF:
    I love you.
    You almost *never* fail to amuse the hell out of me.
    Don't *ever* change.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    I believe what I believe.
    If that's not good enough, oh well.
    That's just the way I roll, as they say.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buddha

    Guess what. You are all wrong.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy:
    I went back to read HB's comment.
    You don't have to reply to his comment, but would you please ask HB what a "snow angle" is in this context?

    December 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    One last thought:

    Absolute beauty, when it can be found, is priceless.
    Don't look at what good it could do here on earth, look at what such a fantastic sight can do for one's *soul*.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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