NASA space telescopes look into a nebula and see 'something watching' Earth

Astronomers have used multiple NASA telescopes to peer into the Helix Nebula only to find it staring right back at Earth from light-years away.

1 minute & 28 seconds read time

NASA has taken to its exoplanets X account to highlight an image captured by multiple of its telescopes, writing "something's watching".

The space agency explains in its X post that it appears the Helix Nebula was looking right back at Earth when NASA pointed its extremely sensitive instruments at it to observe it in a variety of wavelengths of light. Notably, the Helix Nebula is a dying star that is located approximately 700 light-years away from Earth within the constellation Aquarius, and is officially defined as a "planetary nebula", which is a phase of the life of a star.

The space agency explains on its website that when a star such as the sun runs out of fuel it will begin to expand and the outer layers of the star begin to "pull off". Simultaneously the core of the star begins to shrink in on itself. The Helix Nebula is experiencing both of these stages, and in approximately 5 billion years our sun will suffer the same fate.

The Helix Nebula

The Helix Nebula

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope captured the nebula in infrared light (green and red), Hubble captured it in optical light (orange and blue), ultraviolet from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (cyan), and Chandra's X-rays (appearing as white). At the center of the image resides the white dwarf or the dead corpse of what once was a star. The diameter of the nebula spans approximately light years.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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