Hubble snaps photo of 'Christmas ornament' nebula

06:24, Dec 21 2012

This post was originally published on Mashable.

It's the time of year when even the scientists at NASA get into the holiday spirit. Last year, the space agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer snapped an image of a cosmic Christmas wreath for the holiday season.

Not be outdone, the venerable Hubble Space Telescope delivered holiday cheer in the form of this image of NGC 5189, a nebula that - if you're brimming over with holiday cheer or just squinting a little - resembles a very merry Christmas ornament wrapped in a festive ribbon.

Is the "ornament" interpretation meeting astronomers - and we suspect NASA's PR wonks - more than halfway? Yeah, probably a little more than half, but come on - 'tis the season. You can afford to be that generous, right?

For those feeling slightly less festive, a menacing skull can also be seen in the nebula.

Either way, we can all agree that the beauty of the image on its own is enough to make you smile.

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