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Nebula Creates Wicked Witch Head in the Sky

October 31, 2013

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Massive plumes of gas create a wicked witch profile in the sky in this image taken by the WISE infrared telescope.

Just in time for Halloween, astronomers have discovered a nebula that looks like the profile of a wicked witch.

The star cluster is a massive cloud of gas reflecting light from nearby stars. It's also a stellar nursery. The red dots on the witch's warty chin are stars being born.

The image was taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, a space-based telescope that surveyed the entire sky in 2010 and early 2011.

The Witch Head nebula is estimated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to be hundreds of light-years away in the Orion constellation, just off the famous hunter's knee.

WISE was recently "awakened" to hunt for asteroids in a program called NEOWISE.

MORE: The Coldest Place in the Universe


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