Spitzer Spots ‘Godzilla-Like Nebula’

NASA has released an incredibly beautiful image of a nebula, a cloud of gas and dust captured by the agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

This image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows a Godzilla-like nebula in the constellation of Sagittarius. Four colors (blue, cyan, green, and red) represent different wavelengths of infrared light: blue and cyan represent wavelengths primarily emitted by stars; dust and organic molecules called hydrocarbons appear green; and warm dust that’s been heated by stars or supernovae appears red. Image credit: NASA/ Spitzer / JPL-Caltech.

“The Godzilla-like nebula is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, along the plane of the Milky Way,” NASA astronomers said.

“Stars in the upper right (where this cosmic Godzilla’s eyes and snout would be) are an unknown distance from Earth but within our Galaxy.”

“Located about 7,800 light-years from Earth, the bright region in the lower left (Godzilla’s right hand) is known as W33.”

The image was captured by Spitzer’s GLIMPSE survey (short for Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire) and was processed by Caltech astronomer Robert Hurt.

“I wasn’t looking for monsters. I just happened to glance at a region of sky that I’ve browsed many times before, but I’d never zoomed in on,” Dr. Hurt said.

“Sometimes if you just crop an area differently, it brings out something that you didn’t see before. It was the eyes and mouth that roared ‘Godzilla’ to me.”

The image of the Godzilla-like nebula was processed by Caltech astronomer Robert Hurt. Image credit: NASA/ Spitzer / JPL-Caltech.

The image of the Godzilla-like nebula was processed by Caltech astronomer Robert Hurt. Image credit: NASA/ Spitzer / JPL-Caltech.

Spitzer was retired in January 2020, but astronomers continue to mine its massive dataset for new information about the Universe. And Dr. Hurt continues to look for engaging images.

“It’s one of the ways that we want people to connect with the incredible work that Spitzer did,” the astronomer said.

“I look for compelling areas that can really tell a story. Sometimes it’s a story about how stars and planets form, and sometimes it’s about a giant monster rampaging through Tokyo.”

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