The Homunculus Nebula

A massive pair of gas and dust clouds have been blown outward from the supermassive star Eta Carinae. A sequence of eight images taken through red and near-ultraviolet filters by the Hubble Space Telescope have been combined to produce this color image. Multiple exposures necessary to cover the nebula’s wide dynamic range: the outer blobs are 100,000 times fainter than the central star. Eta Carinae exploded about 160 years ago and became one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Even though the star released as much visible light as a supernova explosion, it survived and produced the two lobes and a large, thin equatorial disk, all moving outward at about 1 million km/h.

Image Credit: NASA

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