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Spooky Black Widow Nebula

In honor of Halloween, National Geographic released ten spooky pictures from space. You can view the images via: a slideshow here.

My favorite was the Black Widow nebula. In Latin, nebula directly translated means: cloud. Nebulae consist of interstellar gases and other matter visible as an extended astronomical object. Before galaxies were discovered by Edwin Hubble, they were commonly referred to as nebulae. Our own Milky Way galaxy was considered a nebula before the early 1920’s.

Nebulae fascinate me to no end. As time goes on they accumulate hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases. Eventually gathering enough matter to create a visible cluster and finally form into an actual star!

A star will be born as a result of planetary gases and other matter collapsing in the interstellar medium (ISM). We can blame gravity for that. The ISM is the raw matter that is present in space between the star systems in our galaxy.

The Black Widow nebula exists within the Circinus constellation. This picture was taken with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Scientists gave this nebula its name because there are trillions of young stars that look like distant yellow specks giving off radiation. Therefore forming the large oval body and shooting off in opposite directions giving the appearance of elongated legs.

It’s crazy to imagine that one day that eerie looking black window will form into a young star. For now we can appreciate the infancy stages by admiring the lovely colors depicted thanks to NASA. Though yes, at the same time, it is kind of spooky.