See if you can spot Godzilla in this NASA image of a nebula

NASA’s Spitzer telescope spotted a nebula that looks like it could rise up out of the ocean and flatten a city if it felt like it.


Halloween is coming and NASA has monsters on the mind. The agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured a gorgeous view of a nebula full of gas and dust. Caltech astronomer Robert Hurt, who works with Spitzer images, saw something more than a space sight. He saw Godzilla.

“I wasn’t looking for monsters,” Hurt said in a NASA JPL statement this week. “I just happened to glance at a region of sky that I’ve browsed many times before, but I’d never zoomed in on. Sometimes if you just crop an area differently, it brings out something that you didn’t see before. It was the eyes and mouth that roared ‘Godzilla’ to me.”  

NASA JPL created a handy outlined version of the nebula to highlight the Godzilla-like features. The nebula is in the constellation Sagittarius. Spitzer — which was retired in 2020 — saw the cosmos in infrared. The different colors in the image represent different wavelengths of light. 

If spooky space imagery is your jam, you’ll want to try out the Spitzer Artistronomy site, which lets you draw your own imagined designs onto scenic space objects.

Spitzer may no longer be active, but the telescope’s science legacy is alive and well. “I look for compelling areas that can really tell a story,” Hurt said. “Sometimes it’s a story about how stars and planets form, and sometimes it’s about a giant monster rampaging through Tokyo.”

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