A Face in Profile

Credit: ESO

A pair of hot blue stars carve the inside of NGC 3324 and cre­ate a face in pro­file in this image from the Euro­pean South­ern Observatory.

Zoom into the sculpted edges of this stel­lar geode. What shapes or pic­tures do you see? Leave a note below.

Just like hol­low rocks on Earth that can be bro­ken open to reveal del­i­cate crys­tals, zoom­ing in on the edges of this star cloud reveal fil­a­ments of dark dust, ele­phant trunk pil­lars and rich, glow­ing regions of red gas. Strong solar winds and intense radi­a­tion from very hot and hefty blue-white stars have blown a bub­ble in this star cloud. Ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion also excites and warms hydro­gen atoms within the cloud cre­at­ing a warm red glow. Other col­ors are cre­ated by other ele­ments, such as oxygen.

Zoom into the right side of the image and look for the face in sil­hou­ette with the bump out resem­bling a nose. NASA’s Hub­ble Space Tele­scope has zoomed even closer into NGC 3324 offer­ing a crisper view of the edge of this stel­lar bubble.

NGC lies about 7,500 light-years from Earth toward the con­stel­la­tion of Carina, the Keel of Jason’s myth­i­cal ship the Argo.

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The Riviera Times 08-05-2012, 23:32

The Riv­iera Times…

[…]A Face in Pro­file | Starry Critters[…]…

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