The result of combined images obtained from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the NuSTAR space telescope has been dubbed by astronomers as the “Hand of God.”
“We’re not sure if the hand-like shape is an optical illusion,” said Hongjun An from the University of Montreal.
The NASA image of the “Hand of God” is, in fact, an X-ray image, which is why it’s not visible to the naked eye, as reported by Sky News.
Scientists have explained that the image depicts a nebula, a massive cloud of interstellar gas, around a neutron star known as PSR B1509-58.
Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars that have undergone gravitational collapse, and they are incredibly hot. The collapse triggers an explosion that propels gas and particles into space.
The stunning images captured by NASA depict the result of interactions between these particles and gas, a phenomenon captured with a specialized camera.
The NuSTAR telescope was launched by NASA into space in 2012. It features an X-ray device with unprecedented resolution, capable of exploring the Universe and especially black holes. This capability aids scientists in gaining a better understanding of cosmic evolution.
NuSTAR is the first space telescope capable of creating cosmic images using high-energy X-rays, the same type of rays used in medicine to visualize skeletons or for airport baggage scanning.
The telescope produces images with a resolution 10 times higher than the resolution of images obtained by current telescopes. It will also be 100 times more sensitive than its predecessors operating in the same area of the electromagnetic spectrum.
NuSTAR is capable of capturing high-energy X-rays even beyond the dust and gases that hinder the observation of galaxies, black holes, and neutron stars located at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, the galaxy to which we belong.