Cosmic fireworks in red, white and blue

Exploding star system in representative colors (NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope)
(NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope)

Imagine slow-motion fireworks that started exploding nearly two centuries ago and haven’t stopped. That is how NASA describes this double star system located 7,500 light years away in the constellation Carina. This new image of Eta Carinae comes from the Hubble Space Telescope, a collaboration of NASA and the European Space Agency. Astronomers colored the photo to highlight the stars’ properties: Clouds of magnesium glow blue, nitrogen filaments shine out in red, and white shows ultraviolet light bursting through cosmic dust. The scene resembles a galactic 4th of July fireworks display.