Return to the Carina Nebula

Looking like an elegant abstract art piece painted by talented hands, this picture is actually a NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of a small section of the Carina Nebula. Part of this huge nebula was documented in the well-known Mystic Mountain picture (heic1007a) and this picture takes an even closer look at another piece of this bizarre astronomical landscape (heic0707a).

The Carina Nebula itself is a star-forming region about 7500 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Carina (The Keel: part of Jason’s ship the Argo). Infant stars blaze with a ferocity so severe that the radiation emitted carves away at the surrounding gas, sculpting it into strange structures. The dust clumps towards the upper right of the image, looking like ink dropped into milk, were formed in this way. It has been suggested that they are cocoons for newly forming stars.

The Carina Nebula is mostly made from hydrogen, but there are other elements present, such as oxygen and sulphur. This provides evidence that the nebula is at least partly formed from the remnants of earlier generations of stars where most elements heavier than helium were synthesised.

The brightest stars in the image are not actually part of the Carina Nebula. They are much closer to us, essentially being the foreground to the Carina Nebula’s background.

This picture was created from images taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Images through a blue filter (F450W) were coloured blue and images through a yellow/orange filter (F606W) were coloured red. The field of view is 2.4 by 1.3 arcminutes.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA 

About the Image

Id:potw1127a
Type:Observation
Release date:4 July 2011, 10:00
Size:1481 x 761 px

About the Object

Name:Carina Nebula
Type:• Milky Way : Nebula
• X - Nebulae Images/Videos
Distance:7500 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
450 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
Pseudogreen (B+V)
Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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