carina arm

A mere 20,000 light-years from the Sun lies NGC 3603, a resident of the nearby Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 3603 is well known to astronomers as one of the Milky Way’s largest star-forming regions. The central open star cluster contains thousands of stars more massive than our Sun, stars that likely formed only one or two million years ago in a single burst of star formation. In fact, nearby NGC 3603 is thought to contain a convenient example of the massive star clusters that populate much more distant starburst galaxies.Surrounding the cluster are natal clouds of glowing interstellar gas and obscuring dust, sculpted by energetic stellar radiation and winds. Recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope, the image spans about 17 light-years.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage(STScI/AURA)-ESA/ Hubble Collaboration.

Acknowledgment: J. Maiz Apellaniz (Inst. Astrofisica Andalucia) et al., & Davide de Martin (skyfactory.org)

Hubble Space Telescope

Time And Space

Do The Milky Ways Arms Have Names?

Last night one of the children that visited the Observatory asked a question with an answer that I was unable to answer very clearly. She asked If the Milky Ways (our galaxy) arms had names. The answer is yes!:

The Perseus Arm
The Norma Arm
The Scutum-Centaurus Arm
The Carina-Sagittarius Arm
The Orion-Cygnus Arm (We are here!)

Sagittarius Arm by J.J. Losada

The Carina–Sagittarius Arm (also known as Sagittarius Arm or Sagittarius–Carina Arm, labeled -I) is generally thought to be a minor spiral arm of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Each spiral arm is a long, diffuse curving streamer of stars that radiates out from the galactic center. These gigantic structures are often composed of billions of stars and thousands of gas clouds. [**]

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Star formation in the southern Milky Way
This mosaic of images from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located about 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth.

Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

Milky Way: Star Formation

This mosaic of images from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located about 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth. 

Caption: ESO

ESO