NASA Shares Mind-Blowing Images Of A Christmas Tree Cluster And Snow Globe In Space

hero nasa christmas tree
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and several other telescopes are getting into the holiday spirit with two mind-blowing images from space. While images of NGC 2264 and UGC 8091 may only appear to some as tokens of holiday spirit, astronomers are seeking much more information from them.

The newest image of NGC 2264, also known as the “Christmas Tree Cluster,” shows how the image resembles a Christmas tree via choices of color and rotation from several telescopes. The National Science Foundation’s WIYN 0.9-meter telescope’s optical highlights gas in the nebula in green, representing the “pine needles” of the tree. Infrared data from the Two Micron All Sky Survey shows foreground and background stars in white, while the Chandra Observatory delivers what appear to be blinking Christmas lights in the animated version of the image). The image was then rotated 160 degrees so that the top of the tree is toward the top. Check it out...

NGC 2264 consists of young stars ranging in ages from about one and five million years old. It is located within the Milky Way galaxy and is approximately 2,500 light-years from Earth. The stars in NGC 2264 are both smaller and larger than the Sun, with some being less than a tenth the mass of the Sun to others being as large as about seven solar masses.

The image from the Hubble Space Telescope of UGC 8091 resembles a celestial snow globe. UGC 8091, located about 7 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, is considered an “irregular galaxy” due to it not having an orderly spiral or elliptical appearance.

nasa christmas snow globe

NASA remarked that twelve camera filters were combined to produce the image. The red patches are thought to most likely be interstellar hydrogen molecules that are glowing because “they have been excited by the light from hot, energetic stars.” Also seen is a mix of older stars, which look like sparkles in the image. The image comprises data collected by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys from 2006 to 2021.

While the image provides holiday cheer, the astronomers were also investigating the composition of dwarf galaxies and their stars in an attempt to uncover the evolutionary links between these ancient galaxies and more modern ones like the Milky Way.

The images of the “Christmas Tree Cluster” and UGC 8091 that resembles a snow globe can be viewed on