Eta Carinae Light Echo Brightening - February 6, 2011
The double-star system Eta Carinae, about 120 times more massive than the Sun, produced a spectacular outburst that was seen on Earth from 1837 to 1858. This image shows the light from Eta Carinae's outburst illuminating the dust clouds near the doomed star system as it moves through them. The effect is like shining a flashlight on different regions of a vast cavern. The image was taken in February 2011 with the NOAO Optical Astronomy Observatory's Blanco 4-meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.