Halloween 2021 in space: It’s Halloween and all things unknown become more fascinating at this time of the year. The world seemingly gets a spooky filter and even normal, everyday things seem spooky if looked at hard enough. But there is one aspect that is mysterious and grabs everyone’s interest: outer space. The mystery and the unknown is already fascinating and, let’s be honest, a little bit scary. Add Halloween to the mix, and we have got some very spooky phenomena taking place. And so, for this Halloween, we have got some very special mix for you: the spookiest of outer space seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope! So get your scary filters on and read ahead!
The Space Snake
For the very first spooky image from space, we have the massive phenomenon that looks like a giant snake. At first glance, this image caught by the Hubble Space Telescope looks like a big snake – hissing with its tongue out. What it is, however, is a dramatic triplet of galaxies. The Hubble managed to catch three galaxies interacting with each other and indulging in a three-way gravitational tug of war. It features the Arp 195 system, which includes these weirder and more wonderful galaxies in our vast universe.
A monster with glowing eyes and faces is what one sees when they first see this image. And as much as we want to believe that is what it is (We think the Halloween spirit is getting to us after all!), it is a capture of an “Einstein Ring”. In this image that Hubble caught is a greatly magnified and distorted remote galaxy. The distortion is caused by the gravitationally warped space, according to NASA, and the galaxy is located 9.4 billion light years away from us Earthlings.
We are of the firm belief that these are two dragons or lions or perhaps lion-dragon hybrids that are fighting fire with fire out in space in a destructive battle. But our imagination could not be further from the truth! The image actually looks at star-forming regions or a stellar nursery. Located in the constellation of Gemini, the image centres on the formation of a massive star. The formation of stars takes place in a dusty environment, and this cloud of dust blocks the light of the stars from reaching us. What illuminates the image is the light of the star finding gaps in this dusty cloud and reaching Hubble’s eye. Spooky as it may seem, it is an awe-inspiring image when it is understood in its entirety.
Ball of Fire
The next image seems to be of a giant man spitting out a fireball from his mouth, and does that fit in well with our Halloween theme! However, it actually is a bipolar planetary nebula that Hubble spotted in the constellation of Scutum (the Shield). At the centre is a star (so a ball of fire nonetheless!), and it is emitting material from its outer layers in large quantities, causing the cloud of gas and dust to form the spectacular nebula.
The Angel of Death
The huge black wings and the golden cane with the somewhat elongated face can be none other than the Angel of Death, right? That’s what it has to be! But apparently, we are way off the mark… Again! This image has been captured by Hubble right here in the Milky Way, and it is a birthing ground for new stars. About 1,350 light years away, the Herbig-Haro object was captured in 2015 and they are associated with newborn stars.