Stunning new images reveal ‘Christmas Tree Cluster’ and celestial snow globe in space

New photographs from two NASA space telescopes illustrate how newborn stars can decorate the universe for the holidays.

New Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope studies show star clusters like a Christmas tree with lights and a snow globe.

The “Christmas Tree Cluster,” NGC 2264, is 2,500 light-years from Earth. Its young stars encircled by a nebula's gaseous cloud resemble a cosmic evergreen with flashing lights.

Chandra and ground-based surveys identified distinct wavelengths of light in the new composite image, rotated clockwise by 160 degrees to upright the tree.

The National Science Foundation's WIYN 0.9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert captured the green optical light of the gas cloud resembling the Christmas tree.

Studying young stars like those in the Christmas Tree Cluster reveals their volatility. Young stars can generate flares stronger than our sun, and astronomers are studying them.

A winter paradise was found by the Hubble Space Telescope after a longer search. Hubble observed UGC 8091, a dwarf galaxy in Virgo 7 million light-years from Earth, and its billion stars.

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