Angel Wings in a Distant Constellation Offer Comfort

The beauty of the Butterfly Nebula reminds us that we are not alone.

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Posted in , Jul 17, 2020

Butterfly Nebula as angel wings

Today’s guest blogger is Katie Hogin, photo editor for Angels on Earth.

I see God's hand at work in the cosmos, and angel wings in this photo.

I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of science and religion, and I fell in love with the movie Contact as a child. I recently watched it again, and it still grips me. Our galaxy holds so much mystery, beauty and miracles—and I was reminded of that after seeing NASA’s release of this photo of the Butterfly Nebula or NGC 6302 as it’s catalogued. (A nebula is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space.)

As NASA describes it:

“The star or stars at its center are responsible for the nebula's appearance. In their death throes, they have cast off layers of gas periodically over the past couple thousand years. The 'wings' of NGC 6302 are regions of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit that are tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour. NGC 6302 lies between 2,500 and 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.”

To paraphrase what Jodie Foster’s character in Contact said, each one of us is precious, and we’re not alone. While we’re still uncertain what our future holds during this global pandemic, it’s helpful to know we still have each other to lean on.

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