Horse-Shaped Nebula Seen in 'Unprecedented' Detail Thanks to New NASA Photos

Recent images of the Horsehead Nebula are the sharpest infrared images ever, per the agency

<p>NASA</p> Horse-Shaped Nebula


Horse-Shaped Nebula

Space aficionados are raving about the latest images released of a special horse-shaped nebula.

Courtesy of NASA’s own James Webb Space Telescope, recent images of the Horsehead Nebula are the sharpest infrared images ever of a zoomed-in portion of one of the most distinctive objects in outer space, according to NASA.

"These observations show the top of the “horse’s mane” or edge of this iconic nebula in a whole new light, capturing the region’s complexity with unprecedented spatial resolution," the space agency said in a statement about the nebula, which is located about 1,300 light-years away.

The new view from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the illuminated edge of the top of the nebula’s dust and gas structure, per NASA.

Related: NASA Finds ‘Christmas Tree Cluster’ Twinkling in Space — See the Stunning Photos!

As for how it came to be, NASA explained that the distinctive cloud of gas and dust "formed from a collapsing interstellar cloud of material" — and the reason why it glows is because "it is illuminated by a nearby hot star."

And while it won't be around forever, astronomers estimate the Horsehead Nebula only has about five million years left before it disintegrates.

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In other NASA news, back in February, the agency announced it was seeking additional  participants who would be willing to live on a fake version of Mars at the organization’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for one year, ahead of human exploration of the actual planet in the future.

<p>Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency/Getty</p> NASA

Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency/Getty


This is the second of three missions called CHAPEA — a.k.a. Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog.

The latest mission involves four volunteers living in a 1,700-square-foot simulation, called the Mars Dune Alpha, a 3D-printed habitat that includes living quarters, workspaces, a medical station and lounge areas, as well as a galley and food growing stations.

Related: French Scientist Apologizes, Says 'Space Telescope Image' of Distant Star Was Actually Just Chorizo

According to NASA, the area "simulates the challenges of a mission on Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays and other environmental stressors."

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