It’s hard to believe, but the Hubble Space Telescope has been churning out discovery after discovery for 17 years now. To celebrate the anniversary, NASA and ESA released a high-resolution image taken by Hubble of the Carina Nebula. And what a photograph!
The Carina Nebula is located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. Inside are many many stars in various stages of birth and death, including more than a dozen which are 50 to 100 times the mass of the Sun. One of the brightest is Eta Carina, in the far-left of the image, which should explode as a supernova within thousands of years. Take a good look, this is similar to an environment that our Solar System might have emerged from billions of years ago.
The full image was stitched together from several photographs taken by Hubble, covering a region of space 50 light-years on a side. And it’s really really big: 29,566 x 14,321 pixels. Here’s a link to a page with the biggest downloads, including a 200 MB JPEG.
I really can’t do it more justice, I’m too distracted starting at the picture to write any more, but Phil Plait (aka the Bad Astronomer) did a great writeup here.
Original Source: Hubble News Release