Supernova Factory

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Behold: NGC 3372, aka The Great Carina Nebula – 300 light years across – one of the largest star-forming regions in the Milky Way. To wit:

Like the smaller, more northerly Great Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times further away. This gorgeous telescopic close-up reveals remarkable details of the region’s central glowing filaments of interstellar gas and obscuring cosmic dust clouds in a field of view nearly 20 light-years across. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic and violently variable Eta Carinae, a star system with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. In the processed composite of space and ground-based image data, a dusty, two-lobed Homunculus Nebula appears to surround Eta Carinae itself just below and left of center. While Eta Carinae is likely on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that the Great Carina Nebula has been a veritable supernova factory.

(Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble, ESO, Amateur Data; Processing & Copyright: Robert Gendler & Roberto Colombari)

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1 thought on “Supernova Factory

  1. Slightly Bemused

    Beautiful!

    But the eye is a funny thing. I keep seeing a giant red owl with yellow eyes taking flight, with a blue eyed, bushy bearded wizard looking on in the background (centre right of picture, likely having just dispatched his dread messenger owl with it’s tale of doom.

    Obligatory ‘You’re a a wizard, ‘Arry!’

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