A horse-shaped nebula gets its close-up in new photos by NASA’s Webb telescope – Metro US

A horse-shaped nebula gets its close-up in new photos by NASA’s Webb telescope

NASA Webb Telescope
This image shows three views of the Horsehead Nebula. Image left, released in November 2023, features the Horsehead Nebula as seen in visible light by ESA’s Euclid telescope, which has contributions from NASA. The second image, middle, shows a view of the Horsehead Nebula in near-infrared light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2013. The third image, right, features a new view of the Horsehead Nebula from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument. (NASA via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — NASA’s Webb Space Telescope has revealed the sharpest images yet of a portion of a horse-shaped nebula, showing the “mane” in finer detail.

The Horsehead Nebula, in the constellation Orion, is 1,300 light-years away. A light-year is nearly 6 trillion miles (9.7 trillion kilometers).

Discovered over a century ago, its nickname derives from its striking appearance — a wispy pillar of gas and dust that resembles a horse rearing its head.

Webb’s latest infrared images released Monday captured the top of Horsehead in greater detail, illuminating clouds of chilly hydrogen molecules and soot-like chemicals. These glamour shots can help refine astronomers’ understanding of the nebula, which acts as a nursery for big stars to brew.

Horsehead is a favorite target of space observatories including the Hubble Space Telescope. Last year, the European space telescope Euclid took fresh photos of the nebula.

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