NASA has discovered a location in outer space that boasts a magnificent green Christmas tree adorned with shimmering lights, making it a festive addition to the holiday season.
The subject being discussed is referred to as NGC 2264, also called the “Christmas Tree Cluster.” It is a group of youthful stars, some of which are bigger than the sun, with an age range of 1 to 5 million years. According to NASA, this cluster is located within the Milky Way and is approximately 2,500 light-years away from our planet.
NASA playfully remarked in a tweet about the cluster, “The cosmos is starting to make an appearance.”
NASA described NGC 2264 as resembling a Christmas tree in a composite image of a star cluster, with a vibrant green hue representing gas and sparkling blue and white lights indicating young stars emitting X-rays. The blue and white dots in the composite image were not actually blinking in unison, but were arranged to showcase the star locations and draw attention to the resemblance to a Christmas tree.
The “Christmas Tree Galaxy Cluster” is located approximately 4.3 billion light-years away from Earth and offers one of the most comprehensive depictions of the universe to date.
Astronomer Haojing Yan, one of the authors of the study, refers to MACS0416 as the Christmas Tree Galaxy Cluster due to its vibrant appearance and the presence of flickering lights within it. The cluster is filled with transients that are visible throughout.
The image of the cluster is part of an incredibly rare glimpse into the depths of the universe and features a depiction of a star from 11 billion years ago known as “Mothra,” predating our own solar system’s sun.