Eta Carinae Nebula - NGC 3372
Eta Carina Nebula
Image from NASA ESA Public domain image
Eta Carinae Nebula

A huge diffuse emission nebula consisting of clouds of high temperature gas some 9,000 light years from Sol. The atoms in the cloud are energized by ultraviolet light from nearby stars and emit radiation as they fall back into lower energy states (in much the same way as a neon light). It is a site of ongoing star formation. Each of the bright lobes are the size of an entire solar system. A whole mythology and economy has built up around this beautiful nebula, the so-called Carina Rush.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 24 October 2001.