This celestial “Christmas Tree” is our galaxy wishing you happy holidays

Dec 21, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This celestial “Christmas Tree” is our galaxy wishing you happy holidays

Dec 21, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

christmas tree milky way

Astronomers have unveiled a stunning new image of NGC 2264, a cluster of young stars nicknamed the “Christmas Tree Cluster.” They even made it twinkle, so it looks like it has fairy lights all over it. Well, isn’t this perfect timing for a photo like this?

[Related reading: Ring in the holidays with this new close-up image of Uranus]

The “lights” are actually incredibly hot, young stars. Hot as those Christmas lights from the ’80s, if anyone remembers. They’re between one and five million years old (the stars, not the lights), located about 2,500 light-years away from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. They vary in size, with some weighing in at a mere tenth of our Sun’s mass, while others are powerhouses packing up to seven times the solar punch.

To be fair, the image you’re seeing is a carefully crafted composite. It blends data from several telescopes to create the festive effect. The shimmering blue and white stars, blinking merrily in the animated version, are revealed by X-rays captured by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Cosmic christmass tree NASA sparkly

But the tree needs more than just lights, right? So, the green “needles” were created. They use optical data from the National Science Foundation’s WIYN telescope, showcasing the glowing gas in the surrounding nebula. And, to complete the scene, the stars scattered around the background and foreground come from infrared data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a perfect blend to create a sparkly, festive space photo. Happy holidays from us at DIYP… And from the cosmos, apparently.

[Image credits: Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: T.A. Rector (NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOIRLab/NSF/AURA) and B.A. Wolpa (NOIRLab/NSF/AURA); Infrared: NASA/NSF/IPAC/CalTech/Univ. of Massachusetts; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/L. Frattare & J.Major]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *