As Christmas season descended upon the world, astronomers operating NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope seem to have decided to mark the occasion in style as they released an image of a peculiarly-shaped star formation
Located in the so called Christmas Tree Cluster, the formation in question appears to be a group of newborn stars, or “protostars”, which seem to have formed in “regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the spokes of a wheel or the pattern of a snowflake”, which prompted scientists to name it the “Snowflake Cluster”, a statement on NASA’s website notes,
The Christmas Tree Cluster 🎄, imaged by @NASAspitzer in infrared, reveals newborn stars ⭐⭐ normally hidden behind thick dust. The stars appear as pink and red specks in this image, like a cluster of snowflakes ❄️. Learn more at https://t.co/6rwRcvhOwi#SpitzerFinalVoyage pic.twitter.com/nQEzwVEol1— NASA Spitzer (@NASAspitzer) 23 декабря 2019 г.
The space agency also notes that these stars, which are only about 100,000 years old, are expected to eventually drift apart from one another and thus this snowflake configuration will be no more.
The Spitzer Space Telescope that provided the aforementioned image is expected to be retired by NASA in January 2020.