2020 February 15
Explanation: A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, also known as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy’s largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Great Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the unaided eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This gorgeous telescopic close-up reveals remarkable details of the region’s central glowing filaments of interstellar gas and obscuring cosmic dust clouds in a field of view nearly 20 light-years across. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic and violently variable Eta Carinae, a star system with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. In the processed composite of space and ground-based image data a dusty, two-lobed Homunculus Nebula appears to surround Eta Carinae itself just below and left of center. While Eta Carinae is likely on the verge of a supernova explosion, X-ray images indicate that the Great Carina Nebula has been a veritable supernova factory.
说明: 南天的珍宝之一的船底座大星云，亦名为NGC 3372，跨幅超过300光年，是我们银河系最大的恒星形成区之一。和北天较小的猎户座大星云相似，船底座大星云也是肉眼轻易可见的天体，但它距离有7,500光年，比猎户座大星云要远上5倍。这幅壮丽、宽约20光年的望远镜特写影像，无比清晰细致的呈现了此星云中心区的明亮星际云气丝和黝黑尘埃云。船底座大星云是一些极大质量年轻恒星的家园，其中包括神秘质量超过太阳百倍以上的狂暴海山二系统。在这幅整合太空及地面影像数据的影像里，看似环拱着海山二的双瓣侏儒星云，出现在影像的中左下方。海山二星可能即将发生超新星爆炸，而X射线波段的观测也指出，船底座大星云是个名副其实的超新星工厂。