screamingskullRemember those great old Yamaha guitar ads with the tagline ‘Naked Girls And Flaming Skulls Don’t Make A Guitar Work Better. Unfortunately’? Well, sure, that may be true, but it certainly doesn’t diminish the awesome metal power of The Screaming Flaming Skull In Space. Or, to be more accurate, planetary nebula Sh2-68. Estimated to be at least 45,000 years old, the diffuse orange emission to the upper right is the result of the planetary nebula’s motion through the disk of our galaxy, while the bluish interior is from energized oxygen atoms. The progenitor star is the very blue star at the center of the bluish gas. But as cool as all that stuff is – and I’m rather into astronomy – it’s nowhere near as cool nor as metal as the fact that there’s a giant screaming flaming skull in space.

Photo by T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF). Thanks to Bad Astronomy for the heads-up.