Cosmic Blobs


They’re not alive—but they’re dying. The blobs found in the Carina nebula, some of which can be seen floating on the upper right, are probably better described as evaporating. Energetic light and winds from nearby stars are breaking apart the dark dust grains that make the the blobs opaque. The blobs, also known as dark molecular clouds, are often the stuff from which the very stars that later destroy them are made.

Carina is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for the keel of a ship, and it was formerly part of the larger constellation of Argo Navis (the ship Argo) until that constellation was divided into three pieces. The Great Nebula in Carina spans about 30 light years, lies about 7,500 light years away and can be seen with a small telescope.  The Hubble Space Telescope image above spans a few light months.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

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