If you're looking to haunt your house with some spooky space decor this Halloween, NASA's got you covered.
The space agency has three new Halloween posters depicting strange space phenomena in classic horror movie styles and they're available for free. The posters are part of the "Galaxy of Horrors" series by NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Office at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. You can download the three posters as PDF files here. Spanish versions are also available.
In one poster, dark matter weaves its cosmic web across the universe, invisible and elusive, just as it does in real life. In another, called the "Galactic Graveyard," the dead galaxy MACS 2129-1 haunts astronomers with its mystery of stalled starbirth shortly after the Big Bang. The mysterious beams from a powerful gamma-ray burst stars in "Gamma Ray Ghouls," the last of the new posters.
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The new posters join a series of haunting images released by astronomers for Halloween, as well as a "spooky playlist" of eerie space sounds collected by NASA.
"One of the things I really like about these posters is that if you spend some time studying the art and then maybe go learn a little more about each of these topics, you'll see there was a lot of thought by the artists about the choices they made to highlight the science," JPL astrophysicist Jason Rhodes, who consulted on the project, said in a statement.
The spider's web in "Dark Matter," for instance, is a reference to the cosmic filaments of dark matter weaving across our universe. Gamma-ray bursts, too, are real. They are massive explosions that could potentially harm Earth with powerful beams of radiation if one were ever aimed at our planet.
But that sort of gamma-ray burst scenario is extremely rare, astrophysicist Judy Racusin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said in the statement.
"In fact, astronomers estimate that a gamma ray burst goes off in our galaxy only about once every 10,000 years, but they are visible to us only about every 10,000,000 to 100,000,000 years," NASA officials wrote. "Even then, one of these events wouldn't necessarily pose a threat to our planet."
Racusin said the posters were created to offer a stylized view of the space phenomena to space travelers nearby.
"The poster art is a really fun way to imagine one of these happening," Racusin added. "But I wouldn't want to be those space travelers!"
Visit NASA's Galaxy of Horrors website for free, high-resolution versions of the new Halloween space posters.
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