Supernova remnant N63A in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxie, which has a striking resemblance with Pac-Man. (Image credit NASA/ESA/HEIC, The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA).
This is not a happy Pac-Man munching on its way across the cosmos. This remnant of a stellar blast looks a lot like the famous video game gobbler in the newly released NASA image taken by the Hubble Space telescope.
N 63A is the remnants of a supernova, a powerful explosion that occurred when a star collapsed under its own weight at its end of life. It's located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, 163,000 light years from the Milky Way, and one of few galaxies visible from Earth with the naked eye.
LMG contains several star-forming areas, or nebulas. These are regions where large gas clouds condense into stars and then collapse into them. This stellar nursery is home to the supernova remnant. It is surrounded by many stars and the high concentration of stars reminds Pac-Man of the power pellets he ingests in his video game.
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By exploding gas and heavy metals, supernovas can trigger planet and star formation in the surrounding area. NASA says that the shock waves created by supernovas in this instance appear to have stopped star formation in the area. They dispersed the gas surrounding the stars and halted the process of creating new ones.
NASA says N 63A is still young and will likely launch its own star-forming area in the future.
The Hubble telescope was not in use for over a month between June and July after NASA placed it into "safe mode" due to a hardware problem. Live Science previously reported this. However, technicians were able reboot the satellite which was launched in 90 and is now back taking out-of this-world photos of its surroundings.
On October 12, NASA released the image as its Image of the Day.
Original publication on Live Science