NASA decks the space halls with a Hubble nebula

NASA and the European Space Agency share a Hubble image of a bright bauble of a nebula just in time to celebrate the holiday season.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

The Hubble Space Telescope spies nebula NGC 6326.

ESA/Hubble & NASA

Every time a major holiday approaches, I keep an eye on NASA for a tie-in image of something spectacular in space. 

For this season, NASA posted up a nebula image on Friday from the Hubble Space Telescope. The description comes from the European Space Agency, which says it looks like "a colorful holiday ornament in space."

The image shows off the wispy nature of planetary nebula NGC 6326. The star at its center is near death, which doesn't sound very festive, but certainly gives us something beautiful to look at. 

The nebula is located about 11,000 light-years from us in the Altar constellation, also known by its more formal Latin name "Ara."

"The vivid blue and red hues come from material including ionized oxygen and hydrogen glowing under the action of the fierce ultraviolet radiation from the still hot central star," the ESA says.

You can get your fix of some other seasonally inspired NASA stories by checking out this "snowman" on Saturn's moon Enceladus and this speculation that Santa's workshop could be located on a distant icy world somewhere else in the galaxy.

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