Dark dust twists and turns in this image of the Carina Nebula from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Explore the glowing gas and dark blobs. What stories can you tell? Leave a note below.
This image is just a tiny part of the vast Carina Nebula. The nebula is a star-making factory about 7,500 light-years from Earth toward the constellation Carina, the Keel of Jason’s ship the Argo from Greek mythology. The abundance of gas and dust makes it a perfect place for stars to form. Gravity pulls globs of dust closer together. As more material piles up, it starts to warm up and eventually gets hot enough for hydrogen atoms to begin to fuse. The inky dark blobs in the upper right of the image may be cocoons for new stars. Astronomers call them Bok Globules, after American astronomer Bart Bok who first described them in the 1940s.
Some big stars have already been born from the nebula. These stars blaze so brightly and give off so much radiation that it carves the nebula into incredible shapes. The stars radiation also excites atoms in the cloud causing them to glow like a neon sign.
A thin veil of dust lies between Earth and the glowing background. Just like clouds on Earth, the dust clouds in the nebula flow, swirl and twist with unseen currents.