Parting Eta Carinae's clouds reveals more clouds

New images show star system's inner beauty

By Lisa Grossman, 18:11 PM January 4, 2010

WASHINGTON—A new view of Eta Carinae, a nearby star system that is expected to explode as a supernova sometime in the next 10,000 years or so, reveals for the first time clouds of gas that were expelled by one of its stars.

Eta Carinae consists of at least two stars, one of which is among the most massive and luminous stars in the galaxy. In 1843, that star was famously observed exploding, and over the next 20 years it ejected 20 times the mass of the sun. The eruption created a nebula of g...

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