Stars Bursting to Life in the Chaotic Carina Nebula

This is the tip of the 3-light-year-long pillar bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars just off the top of this image. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure like a halo.

labeling the jet's wispy cloudsNestled inside this dense column, hidden by a wall of gas and dust, are fledgling stars. Although the stars are not visible, one of them is providing evidence of its existence by the thin puffs of material that are traveling to the left and to the right of a dark notch in the center of the pillar.

A little out from the dark notch is the jet, indicated by groupings of small, wispy clouds on its left and right. Astronomers estimate that the jet is moving at speeds of up to 850,000 miles an hour. The jet's total length is about 10 light-years.

3-light-year-long pillar in the Carina Nebula

Image credit: ©2010 NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

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