Seen in a new composite picture, the massive star Eta Carinae is surrounded by gas and dust in the Carina Nebula. Astronomers believe this star is nearing the end of its life and may soon die in a violent supernova that would be visible from Earth.
The picture was taken as part of a recent probe of the Carina Nebula, which found a new population of massive stars hidden in the dust. Infrared observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope show thick dust clouds in red, while regions seen in visible light are colored blue.
Image courtesy NASA, Caltech, and M. Povich/Penn State