(WJET/WFXP) – A space phenomenon spreads some holiday cheer with what looks like a Christmas tree in the stars.
NASA said that the telescope An image of NGC 2264 has been capturedIt is a group of young stars between one million and five million years old.
NGC 2264 — also known as the “Christmas Tree Cluster” because it looks like a cosmic tree with strings of glowing lights — can be found in the Milky Way, about 2,500 light-years from Earth.
According to NASA, the stars in NGC 2264 are younger and more massive than the Sun.
The image below shows the cluster rotated about 160 degrees from astronomical standard north, facing upward. This places the top of the conical tree shape near the top.
As for the green gas in the cluster, NASA said it represents the tree's “pine needles.”
In the video player above, you can also see newly formed stars in clusters, which look similar to twinkling Christmas lights.
These new stars are “volatile and can cause strong flares when captured in X-rays and other types of variations that can be seen through different types of light,” NASA said.
The “flashing lights” in the video were artificially created to emphasize the positions of the stars shown in NASA's X-rays. The stars are not synchronized in real life.
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