(Image credit: NASA / ESA / HEIC and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA))
That’s not a jolly Pac-Man chewing his way through the cosmos. Still, this remnant of a stellar explosion looks a lot like the iconic video game devourer in a newly released NASA image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The object, known as N 63A, is actually the remains of a supernova, a violent explosion caused by a star imploding under its own weight at the end of its life, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMG), a nearby galaxy. located at 163,000. light years from the Milky Way and one of the few galaxies visible to the naked eye from Earth.
The LMG is home to several star-forming regions, or nebulae, where large clouds of gas condense and collapse into baby stars. The supernova remnant is found in one of these stellar nurseries, surrounded by numerous stars, and this high concentration of stars resembles the pellets of power that Pac-Man swallows in the famous video game.
Related: 8 Galaxies With Unusual Names
Supernovae are known to trigger the formation of stars and planets in their surrounding areas by expelling gas and heavy elements. However, in this case, the powerful shock waves appear to have stalled star formation in the region by scattering the surrounding gas that was already in the process of giving birth to new stars, according to NASA.
But N 63A is still relatively young, and as it settles into its final configuration, it will likely kick-start its own star-forming region in the future, according to NASA.
Between June and July, the Hubble telescope was out of service for just over a month after a hardware malfunction caused NASA to put it into “safe mode,” Live Science previously reported. But technicians were able to restart the satellite, which launched in 1990, and has now taken off-world photos of the surrounding universe again.
The image was released as NASA Image of the Day on October 12.
Originally posted on Live Science.
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