Jesus in a galactic tortilla? Cloud of material shed by massive star in new WISE image from NASA

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Above, new imagery from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE): the red-colored thingie in the middle might be visually interpreted as a blood-red jellyfish or a pair of lips, but it's really a sphere of stellar innards blown out by a gigantic star...

The star (white dot in center of red ring) is one of the most massive stellar residents of our Milky Way galaxy. Objects like this are called Wolf-Rayet stars, after the astronomers who found the first few, and they make our sun look puny by comparison. Called V385 Carinae, this star is 35 times as massive as our sun, with a diameter nearly 18 times as large. It's hotter, too, and shines with more than one million times the amount of light.

Fiery candles like this burn out quickly, leading short lives of only a few million years. As they age, they blow out more and more of the heavier atoms cooking inside them—atoms such as oxygen that are needed for life as we know it.

More about the image, and the astronomy behind it, here at the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) website.

Related: There's a nice new website up for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, with tons of eye-popping images!

(thanks, Whitney Clavin/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and thanks George Ruiz!)

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  1. science fiction double feature
    doctor x will build the creature
    see androids fighting Brad and Jannet

  2. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, God said,

    “Let There Be Lips”,

    and there were lips. And they were good.

    AND THESE LIPS COULD SING

    Sing to us, oh Lips!

    Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still
    But he told us where we stand
    And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
    Claude Raines was the invisible man
    Then something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong
    They got caught in a celluloid jam
    Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space
    And this is how the message ran:

    Science Fiction – Double Feature
    Dr. X will build a creature
    See androids fighting Brad and Janet
    Ann Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
    Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.

    I knew Leo G. Carroll was over a barrel
    When Tarantula took to the hills
    And I really got hot when I saw Janet Scott
    Fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills
    Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes
    And passing them used lots of skills
    But when worlds collide, said George Pal to his bride
    I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills, like a:

    Science Fiction – Double Feature
    Dr. X will build a creature
    See androids fighting Brad and Janet
    Ann Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
    Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.
    I wanna go, oh-oh, to the late night double feature picture show.
    By RKO, oh-oh, at the late night double feature picture show.
    In the back row at the late night double feature picture show.

  3. Duh ! .. It’s only yet another unicorn.
    (The orange star at the end of horn, yellowish hooves, ruby ear ring and saddle handle ..)

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