Image: The Giant Nebula, NGC 3603

Nov 07, 2011
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage

(PhysOrg.com) -- Thousands of sparkling young stars nestled within the giant nebula NGC 3603.

This stellar "jewel box" is one of the most massive young in the .

NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina of the Milky Way, about 20,000 light-years away.

This image shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas.

The image reveals stages in the life cycle of stars. The nebula was first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834.

The image spans roughly 17 light-years.


Explore further: Thermonuclear X-ray bursts on neutron stars set speed record

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Stars behind the Curtain (w/ Video)

Feb 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESO is releasing a magnificent VLT image of the giant stellar nursery surrounding NGC 3603, in which stars are continuously being born. Embedded in this scenic nebula is one of the most luminous ...

Image: Starburst Cluster Shows Celestial Fireworks

Jul 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Like a July 4 fireworks display, a young, glittering collection of stars looks like an aerial burst. The cluster is surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust—the raw material for ...

Space image: Carina Nebula: 14,000+ Stars

Oct 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Carina Nebula is a star-forming region in the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way that is 7,500 light years from Earth and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has detected more than 14,000 ...

The rose-red glow of star formation

Mar 30, 2011

The vivid red cloud in this new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope is a region of glowing hydrogen surrounding the star cluster NGC 371. This stellar nursery lies in our neighboring galaxy, the Small Magellanic ...

A cosmic superbubble (w/ video)

Jul 20, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured this striking view of the nebula around the star cluster NGC 1929 within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. A colossal ...

'Pacman Nebula' lives the high life

Sep 29, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- High-mass stars are important because they are responsible for much of the energy pumped into our galaxy over its lifetime.

Recommended for you

How can we find tiny particles in exoplanet atmospheres?

Aug 29, 2014

It may seem like magic, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance.  ...

Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

Aug 28, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the ...

Witnessing the early growth of a giant

Aug 27, 2014

Astronomers have uncovered for the first time the earliest stages of a massive galaxy forming in the young Universe. The discovery was made possible through combining observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

eachus
5 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2011
It is amazing what a little knowledge can do. Rather than just look at the picture and say, "Pretty!" I can see the latest science about such clusters in action. At the right and above the cluster you can see circular fringes where some of the most recent supernovas are cleaning the last of the gas from the cluster. It also looks like the cluster has started to expand, that with the gas removed lots of the stars are no longer gravitationally bound to the cluster.

It still boggles the mind both to recognize just how long ago those "recent" supernovas occurred, and just how many supernovas in that one cluster it took to clear away the gas.
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
"It still boggles the mind both to recognize just how long ago those "recent" supernovas occurred, and just how many supernovas in that one cluster it took to clear away the gas."

Of course, this "supernova clearing" is still under way in clusters like NGC 3603. One notable candidate in this cluster, Sher 25, bears all the precursory hallmarks of another recent supernova, SN 1987A, and may itself soon reach a critical juncture: http://arxiv.org/...38v1.pdf

When such an event might happen is an open question (and yes, it is at a safe distance from us, so we can safely enjoy the fireworks).