Telescope in Chile captures astronomical phenomenon known as “God’s hand”

The cometary globule also known as CG4 is 1.300 light years away from planet Earth

"La mano de Dios"
Imagen: ESO

It looks as if it were a hand trying to reach the stars, but in fact, it is the CG4 cometary globule. Popularly known as “God’s hand”, this cometary globule is located in the Puppis constellation, 1.300 light years away from Earth. The image was captured by the European Southern Observatory’s VLT -Very Large Telescope- in Chile. ESO is one of Europe’s most important astronomical organizations and it counts with various observatories in Chile; La Silla, Paranal and Chajnator, among them.

This astronomical phenomenon is powered by the leftovers of the core of a dense star identified as PSR B1509-58, or B1509, which blew up in a supernova explosion. All that was left of the star was a pulsar, which became the head part of the cometary globule. Even though these formations are not identical to comets, they were called after them due to their appearance. Cometary globules possess a sort of tail that drifts away from the nucleus, similar to comets. CG4’s head is 1,5 light years in diameter, while the tail, which is not visible in the image, is about 8 light years long. Despite these overwhelming measures, astronomists consider it a small globule.

Another characteristic of these cometary globules is that despite they appear to be a bright nebula in pictures, they are in fact hard to detect. Due to this, only professional astronomers are able to spot them. Even though the radiation coming from nearby stars is destroying the head of CG4, this cometary globule still has enough material to create various starts the size of the sun.

Despite everything that is known about this astronomical phenomenon, its real nature remains a mystery.

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