This close up on the Carina nebula looks like the fantasy “Mystic Mountain” from Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. The image was taken on Feb. 1-2, 2010 by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around the Earth.
This beautiful pillar of gas and dust is three-light-years tall. The Carina nebula is a stellar nursery, so the infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen in this image streaming from towering peaks.
The Carina Nebula is also known as NGC 3372 and is located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina.
The colors in this composite image correspond to the glow of oxygen (blue), hydrogen and nitrogen (green), as well as sulfur (red).
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)