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Eta Carinae nebula

Eta Carinae nebula

R574/0040

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Credit

CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Eta Carinae star. Chandra X-ray Observatory image of hot gas around the unusual star Eta Carinae. This wildly variable star has ejected this gas during episodic eruptions. The outer ring (orange) is 2 light years across, and is at a temperature of 3 million degrees Celsius. The small blue region is 3 light months (2350 billion kilometres) wide, and is even hotter. The white central region is less than one light month across, and is at 60 million degrees Celsius. The gas is heated by the shock wave formed as it collides with the inter- stellar medium. Eta Carinae is the most luminous object in the galaxy and is 7500 light years away.

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