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XMM-Newton X-ray portrait of the core of the Eta Carinae nebula

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Minimum credit line: Image courtesy of Marco Iacobelli (XMM-Newton SOC) and ESA. (for details, see Conditions of Use).

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About this Image

The Eta Carinae Nebula (or NGC 3372) is a large cauldron of gas and dust that surrounds several open clusters of stars. The nebula contains some of the most massive and luminous stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and multiple O-type stars. This XMM-Newton X-ray portrait of the core of the nebula shows the WR 25 (the central source) a massive star located within the open cluster Trumpler 16, and Eta Carinae (or η Car) just to the upper left of WR 25, another luminous and massive stellar system; this system sometimes has giant outbursts, and due to this phenomenon huge quantity of debris are ejected in the surrounding space: these shock waves, interacting with the complex cloudy environment the star is embedded in, produce soft X-ray emission around the star. The X-ray emission is colour coded as: red=0.3-1 keV, green=1-2 keV, blue=2-8 keV. In the field around WR 25 and η Car diffuse soft emission from hot excited gas and many early-type stars are visible as well. An alternative view of the core of the nebula is available here.

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XMM-Newton; Europe's X-Ray Observatory
Last update: 09-Oct-2013 by