Carina Nebula

Spitzer_ssc2005-12a1_1024

spitzer_ssc2005-12a1 May 30th, 2005

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/N. Smith (University of Colorado at Boulder)

This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the "South Pillar" region of the star-forming region called the Carina Nebula. Like cracking open a watermelon and finding its seeds, the infrared telescope "busted open" this murky cloud to reveal star embryos (yellow or white) tucked inside finger-like pillars of thick dust (pink). Hot gases are green and foreground stars are blue. Not all of the newfound star embryos can be easily spotted.

Though the nebula's most famous and massive star, Eta Carinae, is too bright to be observed by infrared telescopes, the downward-streaming rays hint at its presence above the picture frame. Ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from Eta Carinae and its siblings have shredded the cloud to pieces, leaving a mess of tendrils and pillars. This shredding process triggered the birth of the new stars uncovered by Spitzer.

Eta Carinae is a behemoth of a star, with more than 100 times the mass of our Sun. It is so massive that it can barely hold itself together. Over the years, it has brightened and faded as material has shot away from its surface. Some astronomers think Eta Carinae might die in a supernova blast within our lifetime.

Eta Carinae's home, the Carina Nebula, is located in the southern portion of our Milky Way galaxy, 10,000 light-years from Earth. This colossal cloud of gas and dust stretches across 200 light-years of space. Though it is dominated by Eta Carinae, it also houses the star's slightly less massive siblings, in addition to the younger generations of stars.

This image was taken by the infrared array camera on Spitzer. It is a three-color composite of invisible light, showing emissions from wavelengths of 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange), and 8.0 microns (red).

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1431-ssc2005-12a1-Carina-Nebula

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Carina Nebula NGC 3372
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
Star > Type > Variable

Distance

Universescale1
10,000 light years
Spitzer_ssc2005-12a1_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 10h 47m 13.5s
DEC = -60° 6’ 8.2”
Orientation
North is 42.8° CCW
Constellation
Carina

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 3.6 µm
Green Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 4.5 µm
Orange Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 5.8 µm
Red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Orange
Red
Spitzer_ssc2005-12a1_1280
×
ID
ssc2005-12a1
Subject Category
B.4.1.2.   B.3.2.1.  
Subject Name
Carina Nebula, NGC 3372
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/N. Smith (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Release Date
2005-05-30
Lightyears
10,000
Redshift
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1431-ssc2005-12a1-Carina-Nebula
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Distance taken from Fast Facts.
Facility
Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
IRAC, IRAC, IRAC, IRAC
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Orange, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3600, 4500, 5800, 8000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
161.80620142963656, -60.102270671868986
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
857.5, 674.5
Scale
-0.00064470841165194216, 0.00064470841165194216
Rotation
42.7873889227
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Spitzer Space Telescope
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
ssc2005-12a1.tif
Metadata Date
2018-01-10
Metadata Version
1.1
×

 

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
10,000 light years