Hubble image said to echo van Gogh 'Starry Night'
This image resembling Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" is Hubble's latest view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- It's astronomy, but is it art?
Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope said they see similarities between a newly released image of a distant expanding star and Vincent van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night."
Astronomers said the Hubble image released on Thursday "bears remarkable similarities to the van Gogh work, complete with never-before-seen spirals of dust swirling across trillions of miles [kilometers] of interstellar space."
Still, there are obvious differences. Van Gogh's 1889 painting of the sky over a sleeping village is predominantly blue, while the Hubble pictures of a supergiant star called V838 Monocerotis show a glowing red center surrounded by wisps of gray interstellar dust.
The star gave off a flashbulb-like pulse of light two years ago and Hubble has been keeping track of it ever since, taking a series of images that show the expanding illumination of the dusty cloud around the star.
This latest image, made February 8 by the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, is the first to show swirls and eddies in the dust cloud, Hubble scientists said in a statement.
The red star is about 20,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros (The Unicorn) at the outer edge of the Milky Way galaxy.
A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers), the distance light travels in a year.
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