A Nebula that Extends its Hand into Space

This cloudy, ominous structure is CG 4, a cometary globule nicknamed ‘God’s Hand’. CG 4 is one of many cometary globules present within the Milky Way, and how these objects get their distinct form is still a matter of debate among astronomers. Image Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA Image Processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), D. de Martin & M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab)

The Gum Nebula is an emission nebula almost 1400 light-years away. It’s home to an object known as “God’s Hand” among the faithful. The rest of us call it CG 4.

Many objects in space take on fascinating, ethereal shapes straight out of someone’s psychedelic fantasy. CG4 is definitely ethereal and extraordinary, but it’s also a little more prosaic. It looks like a hand extending into space.

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