NASA honours legacy of Prince with purple nebula tweet

22 Apr 2016

Following the sudden passing of music legend Prince at the age of 57, NASA has tweeted a picture of a stunning purple nebula in honour of his iconic ballad, Purple Rain.

Prince Rogers Nelson, or Prince as he was known to all, was found dead at his Paisley Park home yesterday (21 April), to the shock of many close to him, and his legions of fans around the world.

While a post-mortem is now being performed to determine the cause of death, the outpouring of grief on social media, and Twitter, in particular, has been particularly moving to many, with perhaps one of the most touching tributes coming from the New Yorker which tweeted its upcoming cover in honour of Purple Rain.

A nebula fit for a superstar

But perhaps from a sci-tech perspective, NASA’s decision to tweet an image of the enormous purple Crab Nebula in honour of the musician seems incredibly apt given his persona, which some might have described as ‘out of this world’.

The Crab Nebula is one of the best-known nebulae to astronomers in the night sky located 6,500 light years away from our own planet.

Even more apt, perhaps, when putting it in relation to the untimely death of Prince, as a supernova remnant, the enormous star that would have preceded it would have been dazzlingly bright, before collapsing after only a short amount of time.

Prince poster image via 360b/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic