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Space nebula looks like Star Trek's USS Enterprise, says NASA

NASA's Spitzer telescope spots a pair of starships in a beautiful set of nebulae.

Boldly going through a nebula.


Far out among the stars, two mighty starships hover in space. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope took an image of far-off nebulae and, like a child looking at cloud shapes, saw two of Star Trek's famous USS Enterprise starships in the stellar formations.

With a little imagination and a line-drawing overlay assist from the Spitzer folks, it's easy to see how the nebulae form the ships. The one on the right matches the original-series Enterprise NCC-1701, while the one on the left matches the more streamlined "Next Generation" Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

NASA explains the science behind the starships sighting: "Astronomically speaking, the region pictured in the image falls within the disk of our Milky Way galaxy and displays two regions of star formation hidden behind a haze of dust when viewed in visible light." Spitzer sees in infrared, which helps it look past the dust to see what's hidden behind.

NASA shared the image on Thursday in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary of the show debuting on television. I can hear Captain Janeway now: "There's starships in that nebula!"