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Supernova Activity in the Carina Nebula Steps Up a Notch

24 May 2011, 20:26 UTC
Supernova Activity in the Carina Nebula Steps Up a Notch
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The Carina Nebula is one of the most famous star forming nebulae in the sky. Located within the the Sagittarius-Carina arm of out own galaxy the Milky Way, the nebula’s proximity make it one of the most studied areas of active star formation in the local universe.
The latest data released by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Space Telescope has shown the nebula in unprecedented detail and has revealed some very interesting information about the events occurring within.
The Carina Nebula in X-rays Credit: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al.
The latest Chandra data has resolved 14,000 individual stars in the area and has revealed the whole nebula is awash with an x-ray glow. In the image above the most energetic x-rays are shown in blue, low energy emission is displayed in red and green displays medium energy x-rays.
The data was collected over 38 occasions between 2004 and 2008 giving a total observation time of 15 days 4 hours 39 minutes!
The Carina Nebula’s most famous resident is the unstable hypergiant star Eta Carinae (located near the centre of the nebula as labelled in the above image), being one of the most likely candidates to undergo a supernova detonation within the next few million ...

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