nubbsgalore: hubble’s panorama of the carina nebula, some 7500…


hubble’s panorama of the carina nebula, some 7500 light years away from earth, and about fifty light years in length here. stars old and new illuminate clouds of cosmic dust and gas, like the clumping hydrogen from which they were born. 

the top star seen at the bisection of the first two panels, part of the eta carinae binary star system (most stars are in binary systems), is estimated  to be more than a hundred times the mass of the sun – large enough to go supernoava in about a million years. 

it also produces four million times as much light as the sun, and was once the second brightest star in the night sky. but surrounding dust and gas has dimmed our view of the star, though it’s still visible in the night sky to all but those in the most light polluted cities.

the fifth panel shows ‘the mystic mountain,’ where nascent stars in the dust cloud are spewing hot ionized gas and dust at 850,000 miles an hour. eventually, the ultraviolet radiation from these stars will blow away the dust, leaving visible the stars, like the cluster seen at the top of the panel, which were formed only half a million years ago.

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