Carina Nebula in Visible Light

spitzer_ssc2005-12a2 May 30, 2005

Creator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Source:

This visible-light picture of the Carina Nebula comes from a National Optical Astronomy Observatory telescope in Chile at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

Eta Carinae is a behemoth of a star, with more than 100 times the mass of our Sun. It is so massive that it can barely hold itself together. Over the years, it has brightened and faded as material has shot away from its surface. Some astronomers think Eta Carinae might die in a supernova blast within our lifetime.

Ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from Eta Carinae and its siblings have shredded the cloud to pieces, leaving a mess of tendrils and pillars.Eta Carinae's home, the Carina Nebula, is located in the southern portion of our Milky Way galaxy, 10,000 light-years from Earth. This colossal cloud of gas and dust stretches across 200 light-years of space. Though it is dominated by Eta Carinae, it also houses the star's slightly less massive siblings, in addition to the younger generations of stars.

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Image Details

Image Type
Object Name
Carina Nebula NGC 3372
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula » Type » Star Formation
Star » Type » Variable


10,000 light years

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 10h 47m 13.5s
DEC = -60° 6’ 8.2”
North is 42.8° CCW
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue CTIO Optical (B-band) 440.0 nm
Arrow_left_green CTIO Optical (V-band) 550.0 nm
Arrow_left_red CTIO Optical (R-band) 700.0 nm