News Release Archive:

News Release 417 of 1051

April 24, 2007 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2007-16

The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme

Technical facts about this news release:

About the Object
Object Name: Carina Nebula, NGC 3372
Object Description: Emission Nebula in the Milky Way Galaxy
Position (J2000): R.A. 10h 44m
Dec. -59° 53'
Constellation: Carina
Distance: Approximately 7,500 light-years (2,300 parsecs)
Dimensions: This image is roughy 25 arcminutes (53 light-years or 16 parsecs) wide.
About the Data
Data Description: This color image combines many exposures from Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)* and NOAO/AURA/NSF Cerro-Tololo Interamerican Observatory's (CTIO) 4m Blanco Telescope and MOSAIC2 camera. The ACS data was from the HST proposal 10241: N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), J. Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder), N. Walborn (STScI), and J. Morse (NASA/GSFC). The CTIO observing team includes N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), J. Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder), and J. Walawender (Institute for Astronomy/University of Hawaii).
*A small area of the Hubble ACS image that was saturated around the brightest star in the field, Eta Carinae, was replaced with images from previous shorter exposures from Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
Instrument: HST/ACS
CTIO 4m Blanco Telescope and MOSAIC2 camera
Exposure Date(s): HST data: March/July 2005
CTIO data: December 2001/March 2003
Filters: HST: ACS F658N (H-alpha+[N II])
CTIO: ([O III] 501nm), (H-alpha+[N II] 658nm) and ([S II] 672+673nm)
About the Image
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Release Date: April 24 , 2007

This image is a composite of many separate exposures made by the ACS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope along with ground-based observations. In total, three filters were used to sample narrow wavelength emission. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic image. In this case, the assigned colors are:

CTIO: ([O III] 501nm) blue
CTIO: (H-alpha+[N II] 658nm) green
CTIO: ([S II] 672+673nm) red
HST/ACS: F656N (H-alpha+[N II]) luminosity*

*The higher resolution, black & white Hubble image and the lower resolution, color CTIO images were combined using a technique that takes luminosity (brightness) information from the black and white ACS image and color information from the composite CTIO image. This preserves all of the higher-resolution detail from the Hubble data while rendering a color image representing the physical processes in this active region of space.


Orientation: The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme