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Wow. I had to reshare this image. Incredible detail!
 
Hubble Observes a Star On the Brink of Destruction: Eta Carinae

A huge, billowing pair of gas and dust clouds are captured in this stunning NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the supermassive star +Eta Carinae

Using a combination of image processing techniques (dithering, subsampling and deconvolution), astronomers created one of the highest resolution images of an extended object ever produced by the Hubble Space Telescope. The resulting picture reveals astonishing detail.

Even though Eta Carinae is more than 8,000 light-years away, structures only 10 billion miles across (about the diameter of our solar system) can be distinguished. Dust lanes, tiny condensations, and strange radial streaks all appear with unprecedented clarity.

Eta Carinae was observed by Hubble in September 1995 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Images taken through red and near-ultraviolet filters were subsequently combined to produce the color image shown. A sequence of eight exposures was necessary to cover the object's huge dynamic range: the outer ejecta blobs are 100,000 times fainter than the brilliant central star.

Eta Carinae was the site of a giant outburst about 150 years ago, when it became one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Though the star released as much visible light as a supernova explosion, it survived the outburst. Somehow, the explosion produced two polar lobes and a large thin equatorial disk, all moving outward at about 1.5 million miles per hour.

The new observation shows that excess violet light escapes along the equatorial plane between the bipolar lobes. Apparently there is relatively little dusty debris between the lobes down by the star; most of the blue light is able to escape. The lobes, on the other hand, contain large amounts of dust which preferentially absorb blue light, causing the lobes to appear reddish.

Estimated to be 100 times more massive than our +Sun, Eta Carinae may be one of the most massive stars in our Galaxy. It radiates about five million times more power than our Sun. The star remains one of the great mysteries of stellar astronomy, and the new Hubble images raise further puzzles. Eventually, this star's outburst may provide unique clues to other, more modest stellar bipolar explosions and to hydrodynamic flows from stars in general.

Image Credit: Jon Morse (University of Colorado), Nathan Smith (University of California, Berkeley) and NASA
Explanation of the image from: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1996/23/image/a/
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67 comments
 
That's a truly incredible image. It's hard to even think about what that actually is.
 
Wow! - - - and Hubble will soon be gone and its replacement has been sidelined - enjoy the Universe while you can - sigh
 
What's difficult to take in from the picture: the size of what you're seeing. Also, the fact that the image is technically 8000 years old.
 
hubble sounds like a good name for a social network for space... messages take light years to post though. Heh
 
Sorry Nuno. Was on my mobile device when posting.
 
this is now my desktop background...simply epic
 
It really looks as though there is a giant external light source casting shadows on clouds but I don't see how that would be possible given the size of what's in the photo.
 
Thanks for sharing Vic, awesome........
 
and we cut funding to our space program! Aren't we swell!
 
My first tech writing job involved writing captions for a couple of CD-ROM encyclopedias. One subject I covered was astronomy, including many Hubble photos. I think I captioned Eta Carinae at some point, but an earlier photo with less post-processing.
 
go bucky hell yah. half nerd half badass
 
Very interesting! Thank you for the info..I love learning about space:)
 
Most amazing thing I've seen all day. Nice work.
 
Great image. The first thing that came to mind when looking at it was a HEART. It looks like one, but floating in the sky!
 
+Vic Gundotra, i am sorry but i have something off topic but important to say. I just realized that everything i share from around the web to g+(using +1 button or chrome ext) is in some way public. Given the fact that to share anything from the web i first need to "+1" that thing to get the sharebox show up to share, even if i share it with limited audience it is still public in the +1 tab. Because the process of sharing includes "+1ing" before sharing. So ultimately everything i have shared privately or publicy till the date from the web is listed in the +1 tab PUBLICLY. This is conflicting. +1ing is only for recommending something publicly, but conflictingly here all the privately shared things are also publicly recommended by default(unless i remove +1 after sharing). So if keep +1 tab public bcoz as per definition it should contain only public recommendations, all of my privately shared posts also appear in the list.

I hope this logical bug in the process of sharing gets fixed soon. Thank you.
 
+John Burak is correct. +Kartik Negi publishers also have the option of just putting up a Google +Share button that allows just for sharing and not +1ing.
 
+Kartik Negi One of the benefits of entering the URL manually is the choice of pic that accompanies the share. I tend to use this if the pic chosen with the +1 share doesn't correlate with the story headline. You can even remove the pic entirely!
 
looks like a human aorta. that's awesome
 
But for the reminder in the picture,I wouldn`t have known what it is about
 
I like where tech. has taken us, up, up and away
 
Unbelievable. I wonder when we will be able to travel to the stars with proper flight and seek out strange new life forms...
 
+Vic Gundotra if only g+ had the feature to let us zoom in on the picture to really appreciate the detail...
 
Thanks for sharing +Vic Gundotra, what a great image to start my day. I've read that these images are taken in black and white and colour is added later based somewhat on conjecture. Anyone know if that's true?
 
...sorry I didn't read the post close enough. 4th paragraph answers my question.
 
Universe is full of strangers, that human beings always surprised whenever they see them
 
Thanks +Vic Gundotra &John Burak. I know that solution obviously, but that is a painful process to do for each and every thing i need to share around the web. You said that publisher have the option to put Share button(haven't seen that yet) which just shares and not +1's. So is there any such official chrome extension of g+ for just sharing? I have searched for it but only found two official extensions the current one which i m using which +1's before sharing(http://goo.gl/bB8Ka) and the notification extension. If there is no such extension yet then please release such extension so that we can share directly from the page itself with just a click. Thank you.
 
Wow !! Amazing.
Just how Lawrence Krauss said, our universe is big and rare events happen all the time
 
Thanks +Ian McCully but i meant a chrome browser extension for just sharing without +1ing and what u pointed is an android app. For the time being until the share extension gets released i think just revoking the +1 by again clicking +1 after sharing would do the task.
 
that is a magnificent shot!!!!!!!!!!!! great job guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT WHAT IS IT?
 
Star On the Brink of Destruction-+Emily Shereda it is a star on the brink of destruction , magnified so we can all see what it does from a distance in space thanks.
 
Hmmm, I may have to collect a ton of these images and throw them into a background slideshow, so vibrant!
 
waw beautiful..............................................................................................................................................
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