Bringing The World Home To You

© 2022 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

LOOK: Hot, Young Stars Form 'Celestial Fireworks'

NASA has released a fireworks-like image of a nebula in the constellation Carina.
NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), F. Paresce (National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy), E. Young (Universities Space Research Association/Ames Research Center), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team
NASA has released a fireworks-like image of a nebula in the constellation Carina.

If you squint, the image above bears a pretty strong resemblance to what you might see at a July 4 fireworks display.

But it's actually, dare we say, far cooler. Or hotter: The image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is a cluster of "huge, hot" stars called NGC 3603, about 20,000 light years away in the constellation Carina.

The glittery image was captured in 2009, and NASA posted it on its website on the eve of today's Independence Day celebrations. The swirling purple clouds of gas and dust, it says, are the "raw material for new star formation."

And as the space agency writes, what appears to be a peaceful scene is actually a churning nebula — where massive stars "live fast and die young." At the cluster in the center are some of the biggest known stars, "burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions."

This kind of star cluster can help scientists learn more about how stars are formed.

We'll leave you with one more image of the "Celestial Fireworks." Happy July 4!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The giant nebula NGC 3603 contains thousands of young stars.
/ NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage
/
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage
The giant nebula NGC 3603 contains thousands of young stars.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
More Stories