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NASA space telescope snaps screaming jack-o'-lantern nebula

Happy Halloween! Space just got spookier with a Spitzer view of a grimacing gourd nebula.


NASA is already having a heck of a Halloween. Between a spooky Hubble image and an exoplanet horror movie trailer, the space agency found time to share a supremely funky nebula that resembles a carved pumpkin screaming into space.

NASA released a GIF of the Spitzer Space Telescope view on Wednesday. The GIF even adds an outline of the gourd shape that caused scientists to give it the nickname "Jack-o'-lantern Nebula." 

Scientists suspect a huge, heavy star carved the shapes into this nebula. "A recent study of the region suggests that the powerful outflow of radiation and particles from the star likely swept the surrounding dust and gas outward, creating deep gouges in this cloud," NASA said.  

Spitzer sees in infrared light. The colors seen in the image represent different wavelengths. The star responsible for this cosmic ghoul can be seen as a white spot near the center of the nebula. 

Tweaking the contrast gives us the orange, pumpkin-hued version of the nebula. It's a small step from there to full-on Halloween hijinks. This spooky space vision is both a trick and a treat.