Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hubble Captures Cosmic Ice Sculptures

This water-color-esque image
captures hot stellar winds carving away at pillars of cold gas, like ice
sculptors wielding torches.

These one-light-year-tall pillars of cold hydrogen and dust are located 7,500
light-years away in the Carina Nebula. Violent
stellar winds and powerful radiation from massive stars are sculpting the
surrounding nebula. Inside the dense structures, new stars may be born.

This image is a composite of two images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced
Camera for Surveys
, one in July 2005 and one in February 2010. The 2005
observations captured light emitted by hydrogen atoms, which shows up here in
blue and cyan. The 2010 image is of oxygen light, which appears yellow and

The Carina Nebula is the subject of two of Hubble’s most famous portraits:
the “Pillars of Creation
and the dramatic new image released for the space telescope’s 20th

Image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Project (STScI/AURA)

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