ATERRIFYING image captured by specialist NASA telescopes aimed at a galaxy 17,000 light years away has sparked online speculation the Creator of Universe has been caught on film.
The space agency’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array – or NuSTAR – was aimed at a pulsar (or neutron star) called PSR B1509-58 a staggering distance from earth.
What they were sent back was a spectral vision of an outstretched hand – which has become known as the Hand of God.
The ‘hand’ is believed to be the remnants of the star which went supernova and ejected an enormous cloud of material – leaving pulsar PSR B1509-58 in its wake.
The remnant cloud, when viewed via high-energy X-rays, shows up as a green, red and blue hand, a staggering 175 light years across.
NuSTAR telescope principal investigator Fiona Harrison, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said: “NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light.
“The new image depicts a pulsar wind nebula, produced by the dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova.
“What’s left behind is a pulsar, called PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short), which spins around 7 times per second blowing a wind of particles into material ejected during the star’s death throes.
“As these particles interact with nearby magnetic fields, they produce an X-ray glow in the shape of a hand.”he pulsar is located near the bright white spot in the image but cannot be seen itself, NASA officials said.Scientists aren’t sure whether the ejected material actually assumes the shape of a hand, or whether its interaction with the pulsar’s particles is just making it appear that way.
Hongjun An, of McGill University in Montreal, said: “We don’t know if the hand shape is an optical illusion.”
With NuSTAR, the hand looks more like a fist, which is giving us some clues.
The red cloud appearing at the fingertips is a separate structure called RCW 89.
Some believers on religious websites are not so scientifically prosaic in their view.
A self-proclaimed pastor called Smote73 blogged: “This image shows God is everywhere in the universe. Perhaps showing his hand many light years away is to remind us he’s always there.”