The holidays are getting festive in space too.
As Christmas trees and seasonal lights glimmer here on Earth, NASA released a picture of the sparkling star RS Puppis at the center of a magical swirl of reflective dust clouds. The ethereal image, snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope, looks kind of like a holiday wreath made of glittering lights. The kind of wreath you can't buy at Walmart.
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RS Puppis, which belongs to a class of so-called Cepheid variable stars, brightens and dims over a six-week cycle. The star is located about 6,500 light-years away and measures 10 times larger than the sun, NASA says, with an average intrinsic brightness 15,000 times greater.
And clearly a holiday spirit to match.
Hubble is the gift that never stops giving. Among a string of striking images, it recently delivered one of what appeared to be a grinning face in space, giving space watchers another thing to smile about in a year of astronomy milestones.