Since its launch on April 24, 1990, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made more than 1.4 million observations of nearly 45,000 celestial objects. For its 29th anniversary, NASA has picked only one.
The Southern Crab Nebula is a tentacle monster of the southern sky, located in the Centaur constellation several thousand light-years from Earth.
His hourglass shape is the product of an aging red star and a burned white star star in the last phase of his life, flitting sideways in a dance to death.
"The stellar duo, consisting of a red giant and a white dwarf, is too close together to see each other in this view." reads a birthday tribute from NASA.
"But the consequences of their orbit are two huge gas cups that expand into space like a hot-air balloon blown through."
Although the structure is probably less than 10,000 years old, the crab is probably on its last legs. Like a molt cancer, the red star peels off its exterior; Soon it will also collapse leaving a pair of white dwarf stars illuminating a gas shell, the so-called planetary nebula.
The rich colors captured in the picture above with Hubble's newest and sharpest "Wide Field Camera 3" reflect streaks of glowing hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen.
Nestled in a flat Gas disk, which extends between them, these gas and dust bubbles are pushed over and under the stars, whereby an hourglass-shaped fog and the mist arise long, thin tendrils that look like crab legs.