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.