European Telescope Reveals Hidden Secrets of Carina Nebula

The most detailed image yet of the well-known Carina nebula has been caught by a European telescope, unveiling previously hidden features of an exquisite star nursery. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) spied the cosmic landscape of gas, dust and young stars in the majestic Carina nebula, which is located about 7,500 light-years away from Earth. The lively star nursery lies deep in the heart of the southern Milky Way, in the constellation of Carina (The Keel). The dynamic star formation that takes place in the Carina nebula gives astronomers an intriguing laboratory to study the birth and early lives of massive stars. In the new image, Eta Carinae appears at the lower left, surrounded by clouds of gas that are glowing under the intense ultraviolet radiation from the newborn stars. The cloud of glowing gas and dust is the birthplace of many massive young stars, and the nebula is home to several of the brightest and most massive known stars. One of these stellar giants is Eta Carinae. The bright star grouping close to the center of the picture is a cluster of stars called Trumpler 14. This new panorama of the Carina nebula has been stitched together from hundreds of individual images, creating the most detailed infrared mosaic of the nebula ever taken, ESO officials said in a statement. The VLT’s view not only highlights the bright, massive stars, but also hundreds of thousands of fainter stars that were previously masked by the thick veils of dust.