Seeing pumpkins with candles inside them in our everyday lives is one thing, but how about seeing one with a telescope? The good old Hubble just discovered a cosmic structure than resembles a pumpkin pretty much, and it proves that someone or something else out there in the vastness of space could be celebrating Halloween as well.
The ‘space pumpkin’ is an image of a collision between two galaxies during their early stages. More precisely, there are two aging red stars forming the eyes, and also a blue smile that’s made up of newborn star clusters. Behold the structure as it stretches for about 109,000 light-years across:
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)
Although we like the ‘space pumpkin’ a lot, the structure will dissipate itself in the future and will eventually become a spiral galaxy.
120 million light-years away
The odd structure is located at this staggering distance from us, in the constellation of Canis Major. We’re talking about the same constellation that hosts the VY Canis Majoris, an object that was once the biggest star discovered in the Universe. The star is so huge that it has a radius of 987.89 million km, which means over 1,400 times bigger than the radius of our own sun. VY Canis Majoris is located at about 4,900 light-years away from our planet.
The Universe also showed to us all another unique way of celebrating Halloween this year. The moon had a blue shade, an astronomical event that will repeat itself on Halloween only after 76 years. People across the globe got the privilege of delighting their eyes with the 2020 blue Moon, whether they were living in North and South America, Europe, or Asia.
The earliest recorded usage of the term ‘blue Moon’ comes from an anti-clerical pamphlet that criticizes the Roman clergy as well as the cardinal Thomas Wolsey.