Science and Exploration

Hubble’s Sparkling New View of the Carina Nebula

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 22, 2023
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Hubble’s Sparkling New View of the Carina Nebula
Carina Nebula, NGC 3372

This sparkling new image depicts a small section of the Carina Nebula, one of the NASA Hubble Space Telescope’s most-imaged objects.

The Carina Nebula, NGC 3372, is an enormous cloud of gas and dust home to several massive and bright stars, including at least a dozen that are 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. It is an emission nebula, meaning that the intense radiation from its stars ionizes the gas and causes it to glow. That gas is widely and thinly spread out over a large area, earning it the added designation of a diffuse nebula.

Carina is a dynamic area of the sky with bursts of star formation occurring alongside star death. As stars form and produce ultraviolet radiation, their stellar winds disperse the gas and dust around them, sometimes forming dark, dusty cloaks and sometimes creating empty patches for the stars to become clearly visible.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Kraus (University of Texas at Austin); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America) larger image

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