Monsters of a starry sea

Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Like sea serpents riding the waves, a group of creatures rise out of the gas and dust of the Carina Nebula. All week, we’ve been exploring the way the swirls in the star cloud look like animals; a swift, caterpillar and an eagle.

In this part of the image from NASA‘s Hubble Space Telescope, we find more Bok globules. These inky, dark dust blobs are star nurseries. Inside these areas, stars are being born.

The Carina Nebula is a very large nebula in Earth’s skies but it lies far in the southern hemisphere so it’s not well known. Astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille discovered the nebula in 1751-52 during a science trip to the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa.

The Carina Nebula is about 7,500 light-years away toward the constellation Carina the Keel. Carina is a constellation in the southern hemisphere. it is part of an older constellation group called Argo Navis, after the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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