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7 images of ghostly nebulae

By: Katherine Butler on Oct. 24, 2011, 6 p.m.
brilliant blue and orange colors in space

Photo: NASA

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Orion's blue ghost

NASA likens this image to a silhouette of Santa Claus, but we think it looks like more like a spectral figure floating quietly in the dark expanse of space. It shows a plasma cloud in the Orion nebula as imaged by the XMM-Newton satellite and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The Orion nebula is located within the Orion constellation, and is visible to the naked eye from Earth. Experts say this cloud may have been created by a violent collision between wind and a giant star called theta1 Orionis C. It almost appears as if the blue specter looks away from us in space while considering the fiery figure of an orange being twisting in the cosmic winds.