Chinese communities around the world celebrate Chinese New Year with great pomp and circumstance, making it one of the most significant and culturally significant holidays. The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, began this year on February 10.Celebrated as the “Year of the Wood Dragon,” it ushers in the arrival of spring and the end of winter. NASA released a rotating, three-dimensional image of a nebula that “appears to be in the shape of a dragon” to commemorate the start of the Lunar New Year. It was made with information gathered from the SOFIA mission.
“Welcome to the year of the dragon,” NASA wrote in the caption. Utilizing information from the SOFIA mission, a three-dimensional representation of the Orion Nebula—the nearest star-formation nursery to Earth—was produced. It displays the nebula’s intricate structure, which includes a “bubble” that has been cleared of gas and dust by a strong stellar wind. Massive stars have the ability to control star formation around them in this way, and SOFIA has improved our understanding of this phenomenon.
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Explaining the image, NASA said that the nebula has a blue center, with red wispy fragments on the outer detail.
“The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) was a mission of discovery, revealing unseen – and sometimes unseeable – parts of our universe. While science flights have ended, SOFIA’s data from a total of 732 nights observing throughout the mission are publicly available for scientists to study and conduct further research in the future,” NASA added.
Reacting to the incredible image, one user wrote, ”Never in my life would I think to see a 360 of my favorite nebula, thank you.”
Another commented, ”my favorite nebula omg.” A third said, ”Very cool… looks like a 3D ultrasound of the Phoenix.” A fourth added, ”We love you guys nasa… Happy lunar New year.”
Notably, there are twelve zodiac signs, and each Chinese New Year is associated with one of them. There is an animal connected to each sign of the Chinese zodiac.They are the following: horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, tiger, ox, rabbit, dragon, and snake.2024 is the Year of the Dragon, following 2023 as the Year of the Rabbit. 2025 will mark the Year of the Snake in Chinese New Year.