SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Gamma Blast, Nebula Dust, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Gamma Blast, Nebula Dust, More
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February 12, 2009--In a composite of images taken by the La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, the newest picture of the Carina nebula reveals glowing dust and brilliant star clusters in stunning detail.

Carina sits about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of the same name. The nebula gets its red and purple hues from hot hydrogen gas interacting with ultraviolet radiation from the nebula's massive young stars.

The nebula is also home to the brightest star in the Carina galaxy, Eta Carina, a tumultuous ball of gas roughly a hundred times more massive than our sun. (Read more about Eta Carina and its violent outbursts.)

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—Image courtesy ESO
 
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