The Carina Nebula - A Birthplace Of Stars

The Carina Nebula lies at an estimated distance of 6,500 to 10,000 light years away from Earth in the constellation Carina. This nebula is one of the most well studied in astrophysics and has a high rate of star formation. The star-burst in the Carina region started around three million years ago when the nebula’s first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen. Radiation from these stars carved out an expanding bubble of hot gas. The island-like clumps of dark clouds scattered across the nebula are nodules of dust and gas that are resisting being eaten away by photons (particles of light) that are ionizing the surrounding gas (giving it an electrical charge).

Credit: NASA/Hubble