NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured new images of a dazzling cluster of stellar bodies which the European Space Agency (ESA) describes as “a diamond necklace of cosmic proportions,” otherwise known as the “Necklace Nebula.”
This beautiful intergalactic landmark is located about 15,000 light-years away from Earth in the Sagitta Constellation. A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases created in star-forming regions, such as the “Necklace Nebula.” It formed its unique structure roughly 10,000 years ago, when an aging star widened and absorbed a smaller, neighboring star, producing what astronomers refer to as a “common envelope.” Bright, tightly packed gas clumps compose the diamond-like ring of debris, also known by its scientific name PN G054.203.4.
“The pair of stars which created the Necklace Nebula remain so close together – separated by only several million miles – that they appear as a single bright dot in the center of this image. Despite their close encounter, the stars are still furiously whirling around each other, completing an orbit in just over a day,” the ESA wrote in its press release on Friday.
Take a closer look at it above.