This year has proven to be a tough one for all, with the coronavirus pandemic, raging wildfires and, specifically in the UK, uncertainty over Brexit. Many cannot wait to see the back of 2020, and it appears the Universe cannot either. A Hubble image shows a nebula in deep space appearing to give the cosmos the “middle finger” – something many people have wanted to do to the Universe this year.
The space cloud is 7,500 light years from Earth and is part of a much larger system called the Carnia Nebula.
However, in the heart of the giant debris of the exploding star – with a nebula the remnants of a supernova – sits the Defiant Finger.
The Defiant Finger, in scientific terms, is called the Bok Globule.
Globules are small, dense areas of dust and gas which are the basis for a new star formation.
The Bok Globule in itself is massive – with a mass of six times of the Sun.
But the Bok Globule itself has a bright star inside – either the Wolf-Rayet star WR 25, a very short-lived, massive star at the end of its lifespan or Tr16-244, a hot young supergiant.
These stars will slowly be evaporated by the stars inside, with a projected collapse of up to one million years.
NASA said in a statement: “Hubble’s view of the nebula shows star birth in a new level of detail.
“The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno.
The JWST will also play a major role in the hunt for extraterrestrials.
This is because the telescope has the capability of scanning thousands of planets for alien life by looking for biosignatures in the atmosphere of a planet.
NASA has said: “The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
“The longer wavelengths enable Webb to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.”