NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Eta Carinae nebula. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of part of the Eta Carinae nebula (NGC 3372). This is a huge cloud of gas and dust surrounding the wildly erratic variable star Eta Carinae in the constellation Carina. The nebula is lit up by the ionisation of its hydrogen gas by radiation from hot, massive stars embedded in it. Two dense gaseous globules are seen at upper left and lower centre. These may one day condense to form stars or star clusters. The nebula lies about 8000 light years from Earth. Image made from four exposures taken by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on the HST in April 1999.
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