NASA & ESA share Christmas gift with world and it's stunning

ESA/Hubble & NASA

With every major holiday approaching, NASA sends out a Christmas gift to the entire world. This time it's nothing different and NASA has a Christmas gift for us.

This holiday season NASA has brought a stunning nebula image, which was clicked by the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 of the Hubble Space Telescope. The description of the image, which came from the European Space Agency, states that the nebula image actually looks like "a colorful holiday ornament in space." Indeed, they are right!

The image features the delicate personality of a planetary nebula, named NGC 6326. The star in the middle of the nebula is nearing its death and, although that doesn't sound very celebratory, it still creates a really striking image for us to witness.

"When a star ages and the red giant phase of its life comes to an end, it starts to eject layers of gas from its surface leaving behind a hot and compact white dwarf. Sometimes this ejection results in elegantly symmetric patterns of glowing gas, but NGC 6326 is much less structured," read the post.

"The vivid blue and red hues come from material including ionized oxygen and hydrogen glowing under the action of the fierce ultraviolet radiation from the still hot central star," said the ESA.

The nebula, featured in the image, is situated far at around 11,000 light-years away from our home planet. It belongs to the constellation of Altar, which is also famous by its formal Latin name "Ara."

This article was first published on December 23, 2017