Last October, the Hubble Space Telescope trained its sights on item #5189 in the New General Catalogue of astronomical objects.
NASA later released a glorious image of this massive, spiraling ribbon of fantastic light in December of last year. Many folks were saying it looked like a Christmas ornament.
It is a stunning cloud of spectacularly illuminated gasses and dust first discovered in 1826 by James Dunlop.
But Mr. Dunlop had no clue of precisely what this beauty of a nebula really looked like.
Here it is, courtesy of NASA, as seen from Hubble.
Now, if you’ve been following the Talon at all lo these many moons since school began, you know Mr. Ray probably spends too much time thinking about the heavens.
Ok, I do. I admit it. If, however, you are not convinced of the editor-in-chief’s delight in the stars and the stories behind them, what you’re about to see may just seal the deal.
Take a closer look at the center of NGC 5189 and see if you can see what he did.
At the very least, it looked to me like an angel. A Christmas angel.
I mean, ok. Yes, it’s Christmas time and perhaps I’m a bit nutty and am simply seeing things and have an over-active imagination.
Well, not “perhaps”. I own all of it.
I do wonder – literally – in two ways. I’m curious and I’m awestruck. The sheer size and luminous beauty of the nebula by itself is stunning. I also cannot help but imagine the heavenly host of Luke 2 looking something like this. Imagine a bunch of them.
Singing. What’d that sound like? Luke tells us the shepherds were “sore afraid.” I think I would be, too.
I actually blame NASA somewhat for encouraging my over-driven imagination. They’re the ones who released this image last December and called it a Christmas ornament.
If NASA wants to go there, ok. I’ll see your ornament and raise you an angel! Why not?
Lord Jesus have mercy on us. This Christmas, may you reveal Your favor to us who so desperately need good news and great joy.