Some said it was the “hand of God” — but astronomers have a scientific explanation for a photo captured using a NASA space telescope.

According to USA Today, scientists believe the image actually depicts the remains of a star that exploded 17,000 light-years away.

“Nicknamed the ‘Hand of God,’ this object is called a pulsar wind nebula,” the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array said in a statement. “It’s powered by the leftover, dense core of a star that blew up in a supernova explosion.”

“…dense core of a star that blew up in a supernova explosion.”
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“The stellar corpse, called PSR B1509-58, or B1509 for short, is a pulsar: it rapidly spins around, seven times per second, firing out a particle wind into the material around it — material that was ejected in the star’s explosion,” the statement added. “These particles are interacting with magnetic fields around the material, causing it to glow with X-rays. The result is a cloud that, in previous images, looked like an open hand.”

View the ‘Hand of God’ image:

Did a NASA Telescope Capture the Hand of God?

This undated x-ray image from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, shows a cloud of material resembling a hand that was ejected from a start that exploded. High-energy X-rays are shown in blue, lower-energy X-ray light, previously detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, is shown in green and red. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill)

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