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Rosette Nebula Skull – A Human Skull-shaped Nebula with a Radius of 65 light-years

Rosette Nebula Skull - A Human Skull-shaped Nebula with a Radius of 65 light-years

The Rosette Nebula skull is a massive star-forming area in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. The nebula is a huge cloud of gas and dust that resides near a big molecular cloud and is intimately linked to the open cluster NGC 2244, whose stars were created in the last five million years from the nebula’s materials. 

Rosette Nebula is 5,219 light-years away from Earth and 65 light-years in radius. It is formed like a rose or a flower, which is why it gets its name “Rosset.” This rose’s petals are a star nursery, where new stars are born.

Rosette Nebula Skull
Rosette Nebula which is formed like a rose or a flower.
© en.wikipedia.org

According to recent observations, the darker part of Rosette is a nursery for freshly created stars. Hundreds of newly formed stars are swaddled beneath a gaseous veil within the dense molecular cloud that forms the “jaw” of this skull-like configuration.

The most interesting fact is that this nebula has been called the “Skull” because it gives the shape of a human skull in some orientations. As a reason, there are a lot of people attempting to see and capture the skull shape.

To see the Rosette Nebula visually, orient your telescope to the right part of the constellation Monoceros and left of Orion the hunter. It is best to view it under a dark, moonless sky.

Rosette Nebula Skull
Rosette Nebula Skull © stars.astro.illinois.edu

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Chandra X-ray Observatory has released a composite image of a part of the Rosette Nebula, called for its rose-shaped configuration.

Sharing the image on its Instagram page, the space agency stated that “A cluster of stars resembles a colorful human skull in space. Red X-ray observations reveal hundreds of young stars near the center of the image.”

“Large dense pockets of purple, orange, green, and blue gases interlaid with dust form the bone structure of this cosmic skull. Within the eye cavities of the skull bright blue stars stand out against the darkness of space.”

“The slurry of dust and gas creating the bone structure is visibly denser in the bottom right of the image, creating a thick shroud blocking the sight of newly forming stars in the region.”

“The uppermost corners of the image reveal a background of the blackness of space with sprinklings of stars throughout.”

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