Hubble Captures Spectacular "Landscape" in the
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this
billowing cloud of cold interstellar gas and dust
rising from a tempestuous stellar nursery located
in the Carina Nebula, 7,500 light-years away in the
southern constellation Carina. This pillar of dust
and gas serves as an incubator for new stars and is
teeming with new star-forming activity.
Hot, young stars erode and sculpt the clouds into
this fantasy landscape by sending out thick stellar
winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation. The low-
density regions of the nebula are shredded while
the denser parts resist erosion and remain as thick
pillars. In the dark, cold interiors of these
columns new stars continue to form.
In the process of star formation, a disk around the
proto-star slowly accretes onto the star's surface.
Part of the material is ejected along jets
perpendicular to the accretion disk. The jets have
speeds of several hundreds of miles per second. As
these jets plow into the surround nebula, they
create small, glowing patches of nebulosity, called
Herbig-Haro (HH) objects.
Long streamers of gas can be seen shooting in
opposite directions off the pedestal on the upper
right-hand side of the image. Another pair of jets
is visible in a peak near the top-center of the
image. These jets (known as HH 901 and HH 902,
respectively) are common signatures of the births
of new stars.
This image celebrates the 20th anniversary of
Hubble's launch and deployment into an orbit around
Earth. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed the
pillar on Feb. 1-2, 2010. The colors in this
composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen
(blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), and sulfur
Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th
Anniversary Team (STScI)