Sculpting the South Pillar
Eta Carinae, one of the most massive and unstable stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, has a profound effect on its environment. Found in the South Pillar region of the Carina Nebula, these fantastic pillars of glowing dust and gas embedded with newborn stars were sculpted by the intense wind and radiation from Eta Carinae and other massive stars. Glowing brightly in planet Earth's southern sky, the expansive Eta Carinae Nebula is a mere 10,000 light-years distant. Still, this remarkable cosmic vista is largely obscured by nebular dust and only revealed here in penetrating infrared light by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Eta Carinae itself is off the top left of this false-color image, with the bright-tipped dust pillars pointing suggestively toward the massive star's position.
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