NASA’s Spitzer Telescope Spots Nebulae That Look Like Star Trek's Starship USS Enterprise

Posted: Sep 11 2016, 3:34am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 11 2016, 3:51am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


NASA’s Spitzer Telescope Captures Nebulae that Look Like Star Trek's Starship USS Enterprise

NASA release the image of 'Enterprise' nebulae on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek

NASA celebrates the 50th anniversary of famous TV series “Star Trek” with a beautiful image of far-off nebulae. The image was taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and resembles fictional spacecrafts used in Star Trek series, first aired September 8th, 1966. The twin nebulae are well known Ant and Hourglass nebulae.

Imaging familiar objects while gazing at unrelated objects is called pareidolia and that is exactly happening here. The nebula on the right of the image reminds us of saucer and hull of original USS Enterprise, a spacecraft steered by character James T. Kirk while the other nebula looks similar to the spacecraft seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was captained by Jean-Luc Picard.


It's written in the stars... or in this case a star forming region. For #StarTrek50, we present to you the 'Enterprise' Nebulae. On the right of the image, you may see hints of the saucer and hull of the original USS Enterprise, captained by James T. Kirk, as if it were emerging from a dark nebula. To the left, its "Next Generation" successor, Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise-D, flies off in the opposite direction. 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's ability to peer deeper into dust clouds has revealed a myriad of stellar birthplaces like these, which are officially known only by their catalog numbers, IRAS 19340+2016 and IRAS19343+2026. Trekkies, however, may prefer using the more familiar designations NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-D. Fifty years after its inception, Star Trek still inspires fans and astronomers alike to boldly explore where no one has gone before. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech #nasa #space #nebula #nebulae #stars #startrek #enterprise #ussenterprise #spitizer #nasabeyond #astronomy #science

A video posted by NASA (@nasa) on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:10am PDT

The region pictured in the image is of the region within the disk of our galaxy Milky Way and is not visible with naked eye since it has been obscured by the haze of dust. Spitzer’s remarkable ability to peer through the dust cloud has made it possible to reveal those nebulae in visible light. It is a fitting tribute to the epic show that touched the heart of millions and still inspires fans. 


“This image was assembled using data from Spitzer's biggest surveys of the Milky Way, called GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL. Light with a wavelength of 3.5 microns is shown in blue, 8.0 microns in green, and 24 microns in red. The green colors highlight organic molecules in the dust clouds, illuminated by starlight. Red colors are related to thermal radiation emitted from the very hottest areas of dust.” NASA blog says

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