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“The Hand of God” reaches the galaxy – new images from space

“The Hand of God” reaches the galaxy – new images from space

The Hand of God is a massive galactic dust cloud located in the Puppis constellation. A new image of this phenomenon shows a ghostly red glow.

More than a thousand light-years away from Earth, a ghostly hand reaches out into a galaxy. The cloud hand named CG4 is often called the “Hand of God” and its red glow has now been captured in a new recording.

The team at the NSF Noirlab Astronomy Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, announced that they were able to photographically capture the red glow of ionized hydrogen at the center and around the outer edge using a special filter. The light is created when hydrogen is bombarded and excited by the radiation of nearby massive stars.

CG4 is one of the so-called comet-like globules, of which there are many in our Milky Way Galaxy: clouds of interstellar dust and gas that look comet-like because of a kind of tail and in which new stars can form. According to the researchers, CG4 also contains enough gas to enable the formation of several new Sun-sized stars.

CG4 is located in the so-called Gum Nebula

CG4 is located 1,300 light-years away from us, and its tail is about eight light-years long, which is rather small for a gas cloud. A light year is the distance that light travels in one year, which is 9.46 trillion kilometers.

When viewed from Earth, the structure is located in the constellation Sternstern der Schiff (Latin: Puppis), a constellation in the southern sky. The spiral galaxy towards which CG4 appears to be heading is called ESO 257-19, and it is actually more than a hundred million light-years away from the supposed hand, astronomers explain.

The Pillars of Creation also reminds us of a huge hand

The Hand of God, along with the Pillars of Creation, is one of the most fascinating elements explored in modern astronomy. Two years ago, the James Webb Space Telescope re-imaged the Pillars of Creation with impressive depth, clarity and color.

This structure is also a massive accumulation of interstellar gas and dust. The shape is reminiscent of a huge hand.

Since the first images were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, the “pillars” have been printed on T-shirts, used as poster decorations, and even recreated by Lego as 3D relief.