Blowing bubbles in the Carina Nebula

Jun 04, 2012
The Carina Nebula, by ESA’s Herschel space observatory. The image shows the effects of massive star formation - powerful stellar winds and radiation have carved pillars and bubbles in dense clouds of gas and dust. The image covers approximately 2.3 x 2.3 degrees of the Carina Nebula complex and was mapped using Herschel instruments PACS and SPIRE at wavelengths of 70, 160, and 250 microns, corresponding to the blue, green, and red channels, respectively. North is to the upper left and east is to the lower left. Credits: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/Thomas Preibisch, Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.

(Phys.org) -- Giant bubbles, towering pillars and cascading clouds of dust and gas fill the star-forming nursery of the Carina Nebula seen here in a stunning new view from Herschel to launch ESA Space Science’s image of the week feature.
 
The Carina Nebula is some 7500 lightyears from Earth and hosts some of the most massive and luminous stars in our Galaxy, including double-star system eta Carinae, which boasts over 100 times the mass of our Sun.
The total amount of gas and dust traced by ESA’s Herschel space observatory in this image is equivalent to some 650 000 Suns. Including warmer gas not well traced by Herschel, the total mass may be as high as 900 000 Suns.

Surrounding pillars of gas and dust point towards the bright central region of nebulosity – home to eta Carinae and numerous other massive stars.

The pillars are carved by intense stellar winds and radiation blasted out by these stars, eating away at the surrounding material.

Above and to the left is a chaotic web of bubbles and broken bubble arcs molded by individual regions of star formation that have swept up shells of dense clouds around them.

At top right is the Gum 31 nebula, which has blown a giant bubble out of the surrounding dense clouds thanks to winds and radiation emitted by the young stellar cluster NGC 3324 that sits at its heart.

This latest image launches ESA Space Science’s new image of the week series, which will present a variety of images and animations capturing all aspects of from the Sun, planets, stars, and galaxies to the edge of the Universe, along with the spacecraft that provide us with these spectacular views.

Explore further: Next-generation Thirty Meter Telescope begins construction in Hawaii

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cygnus-X: the cool swan glowing in flight

May 10, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Chaotic networks of dust and gas signpost the next generations of massive stars in this stunning new image of the Cygnus-X star-nursery captured by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.  ...

Spitzer Captures Fruits of Massive Stars' Labors

May 31, 2005

The saga of how a few monstrous stars spawned a diverse community of additional stars is told in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The striking picture reveals an eclectic mix of embryonic stars ...

Strong winds over the keel

Feb 12, 2009

The large and beautiful image displays the full variety of this impressive skyscape, spattered with clusters of young stars, large nebulae of dust and gas, dust pillars, globules, and adorned by one of the ...

The little man and the cosmic cauldron

May 27, 2008

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Very Large Telescope's First Light, ESO is releasing two stunning images of different kinds of nebulae, located towards the Carina constellation. The first one, ...

Recommended for you

Comet Jacques makes a 'questionable' appearance

Jul 28, 2014

What an awesome photo! Italian amateur astronomer Rolando Ligustri nailed it earlier today using a remote telescope in New Mexico and wide-field 4-inch (106 mm) refractor. Currently the brightest comet in ...

Image: Our flocculent neighbour, the spiral galaxy M33

Jul 28, 2014

The spiral galaxy M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is one of our closest cosmic neighbours, just three million light-years away. Home to some forty billion stars, it is the third largest in the ...

Image: Chandra's view of the Tycho Supernova remnant

Jul 25, 2014

More than four centuries after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe first observed the supernova that bears his name, the supernova remnant it created is now a bright source of X-rays. The supersonic expansion of ...

User comments : 0