“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The great nebular structures stretching across our galaxy are evidence of the birth and deaths of stars, or so I — an astrophysicist — have been telling you. But an apparently void region of our sky was discovered to house a nebula so remarkable, that I never would have imagined it could exist in the heavens.
Just a degree or two away from the bright star Alnath, towards the direction between the star clusters Messier 35 and Messier 37, lives a vast complex of gas and dust from a dead star that went supernova sometime around 40,000 years ago.
But it’s invisible to the naked eye, even when aided by a good telescope. The supernova remnant is so faint that it wasn’t even discovered until 1952, despite being only around 3,000 light years away.
Ladies and gentlemen, in all its glory, may I present to you — on this Pastafarian* New Year — the greatest images of the one cosmic sign that has officially left me touched (by a noodly appendage): the Spaghetti Nebula!
So named because it looks like a plate of Spaghetti, to my eyes it looks like something else entirely, particularly if one looks at — instead of the bright Hα-line from the supernova remnant — an amazing 66-color-band composite!
In fact, the best coloring of all — to my eyes, anyway — comes courtesy of Emil Ivanov, who truly captures the majesty of this 140-light-year-wide supernova remnant in all its glory.
Can there be any doubt as to what we’re looking at? Any doubt at all to Captain Mosey’s Eight “I really rather you didn’ts“?
There can be no doubt at all; this is surely the extraordinary evidence we’ve all been looking for. So bask in His delicious presence, and say it with me.
Our Pasta, who art in heaven,
supernova remnant be thy name.
Thy noodles come, thine sauce be done,
on Earth as it is in the ISM.
Give us this day our long exposures,
and forgive us our selective filterings,
as we forgive those who filter us.
And lead us not into a big crunch,
but deliver us from the heat death.
The Spaghetti Nebula is also known as Simeis 147 or Sharpless 2-240, and has been discovered — like many supernova remnants — to have a pulsing neutron star at its core. Is this not proof enough for you?
* — But perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten my information concerning the Pastafarian New Year from Uncyclopedia.