Just about 28 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope launched into the great unknown to give astronomers and space geeks a better look at the cosmos. Since its launch on April 24, 1990, the spacecraft has been sending back some of the dankest space pics in the game. This year our, astronomical photographer beamed back what looks like an enormous, multicolored vape cloud — known as the Lagoon Nebula — just in time for 4/20. Coincidence? We’d like to think it’s fate.
This gargantuan interstellar cloud in the Sagittarius constellation is somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 light-years away from Earth, but it’s still three times larger than the full moon in the night sky. At 55 light-years wide and 20 light-years tall, Hubble was only able to capture a small section of this massive object using infrared and visible light cameras. The image seen below captures the nebula’s hearth, where its billows of gas and dust serve as the fuel that will spark life to a new generation of stars. Join our private Dope Space Pics group on Facebook for more strange wonder.
The Lagoon Nebula is full of hot, newly born stars that emit huge amounts of ultraviolet radiation. This electrically charges the surrounding gas, which gives this comic vape cloud its blue and purple hues. The gravitational forces of the nebula’s star also mold and shape the gas into the craggy and dynamic shapes seen in the photo.
At the very center of this image lies Herschel 36, a bright star that has made a home of the Lagoon Nebula’s dense cloud formations. Its radiation and gravity have sculpted funnels of gas and dust into two interstellar twisters that look a lot like tornadoes on Earth. These chord-like structures are thought to be wound up into funnels by temperature differences between the scorching temperatures of Herschel 36 and the nebula’s cold bands of gas.
Over a certain amount of time, these nebular cyclones will begin to collapse under their own weight and spawn even more stars like Herschel 36. This will further distort the shape of the Lagoon Nebula.
You might think you’re blowing fat clouds with your Juul, but remember, the universe is vaping up clouds so thicc they’re literally giving birth to stars.