Today in pretty space pics: Hubble captures the brightest star-forming region in the neighborhood, a particularly prolific segment of the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud that is home to the most massive stars ever observed from Earth. The image above, hemming in some 650 light-years of space (horizontally), contains one of the fastest rotating stars ever seen as well as the fastest runaway star. In other words, there is no lack of action here in 30 Doradus, at the center of the Tarantula Nebula.
Today in pretty space pics: Behold, the Carina nebula--but not as it looks with the naked eye. Astronomers at the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX), unsatisfied with the visible light spectrum images taken of this stunning swirl of blue interstellar dust, decided to begin imaging the region in sub-millimeter light invisible to the eye (represented by the the orange in the image above). Aesthetically speaking, it wasn’t a bad idea.
The cosmic fireworks above capture both stellar birth and stellar death in one sweeping view. With eyes pointed at nebula NGC 3582, part of a larger star factory here in the Milky Way, the Wide Field Imager at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile managed to capture a nebula shaped by supernova glowing with the intense light of baby stars.
We are all made of stars, and that’s not just a Moby-ism. The stuff of the cosmos is also the stuff of life, so it’s interesting to look at ourselves and then at an image like the one above--a violent star birthing region filled with swirling, super-heated gas and dust--and ponder what possible futures might be spawning there. This newly released image from the ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows in detail the effect that newly minted stars have on the very gas and dust from which they are formed.
Without a telescope, the Lagoon Nebula is faintly visible with the naked eye as a unremarkable patch of gray in the heart of the Milky Way. Observed up close with the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, it looks slightly more nuanced. Hubble recently captured this close-up of gas and dust painted brightly by intense radiation spouting from young stars forming deep in this stellar nursery five thousand light-years away.