20/12/2012 04:14 GMT | Updated 18/02/2013 05:12 GMT

Nasa's Hubble Telescope Presents 'Christmas Ornament' Festive Image (PICTURES)

Nasa has presented its Christmas present to the Earth - a cosmic festive decoration.

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken this beautiful image of a nebula which appears to be decorating space in Yuletide cheer.


No, it doesn't have a recognisably Christmassy name - it's official moniker is NGC 5189 - but its blue-red colours and twisting structure do have the feel of Crimbo about it.

The picture actually depicts a star which has run out of fuel. As it dies the sun throws off its out layers of matter in the form of massive amounts of radiation. At its core is a white dwarf star, where the mass of a formerly large sun is compressed into the volume of the Earth. One day, in about five billion years, our sun is destined to do something similar.

So yes, while the technical nature of the nebula isn't that cheerful it's certainly spectacular.