NASA released the image of a Christmas wreath shaped nebula, and the infrared light given off is even the right color of green with nearby stars looking like silver bell decorations. Dubbed Bernard 3, the nebula is around 1,000 light years away and was discovered with NASA's Wide-Field Infared Survey Explorer. It's known as a dark nebula, and it obscures light, so the colors would not appear green if a person were to see it with the naked eye.
While the star decorations are stars that are either in front of or behind the nebula relative to Earth, the nebula itself is lit by a very bright star in the middle. Named after Edward Bernard, the nebula was found with WISE as it searched the night sky for lights in the infrared range.
In related news, observers in northern Europe witnessed a streak of light across the sky Dec. 24, and it was confirmed to have been debris from a Russian rocket that delivered astronauts to the International Space Station.
"The fireball observed above Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany on December 24 around 17h30, was the re-entry of the third stage of the Soyuz rocket that transported the Dutch astronaut André Kuipers to the ISS," Belgium's Royal Observatory said in a release Christmas Day. Several videos made their way onto YouTube showing a ball of light with a long tail seen across the continent. Sky gazers assumed it was a meteorite until the Belgian observatory figured it out.
It was the reentry of a Soyuz third stage rocket that was part of a launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 21. No doubt the falling debris being seen on Christmas Eve excited may observers as they imagined Santa Claus making his way around the world.