Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the “Hand of God.”
The cosmic “hand of God” photo was produced when a star exploded and ejected an enormous cloud of material, which NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, glimpsed in high-energy X-rays, shown in blue in the photo. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory had imaged the green and red parts previously, using lower-energy X-rays.
According to scientists, 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. (The 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. “We don’t know if the hand shape is an optical illusion,” Hongjun An, of McGill University in Montreal, said in a statement. “With NuSTAR, the hand looks more like a fist, which is giving us some clues.”
The Hand of God is an example of pareidolia, according to scientists, the psychological phenomenon of perceiving familiar shapes in random or vague images. Or, just maybe, God is letting us know that He is in charge!
Who can forget the face in the ash cloud during the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, on May 18th, 1980 – very close to Pentecost Day. Some have called this the face of Elijah the prophet but just maybe it is the face of God.
Joel 2:30-32 “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass. . .”