Star-Forming Regions in the Carina Nebula
A towering mountain of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust is the site of new star formation in the Carina Nebula. The great gas pillar is being eroded by the ultraviolet radiation from the hottest newborn stars in the nebula.
A close-up look at the peak of one of these pillars reveals unequivocal evidence that stars are being born inside the columns. A pencil-like streamer of gas shoots out in both directions from the pillar and ploughs into the surrounding gas. The jet is being launched from a newly forming star hidden inside the column. A similar jet appears near the bottom of the image. These stellar jets are a common signature of the birth of a new star.
This image is from a mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled from 48 frames taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were taken in the light of ionized hydrogen. Colour information was added with data taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Red corresponds to sulphur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission.