APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

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APOD Robot
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APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon May 16, 2016 4:06 am

Image Clouds of the Carina Nebula

Explanation: What forms lurk in the mists of the Carina Nebula? The dark ominous figures are actually molecular clouds, knots of molecular gas and dust so thick they have become opaque. In comparison, however, these clouds are typically much less dense than Earth's atmosphere. Featured here is a detailed image of the core of the Carina Nebula, a part where both dark and colorful clouds of gas and dust are particularly prominent. The image was captured last month from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Although the nebula is predominantly composed of hydrogen gas -- here colored green, the image was assigned colors so that light emitted by trace amounts of sulfur and oxygen appear red and blue, respectively. The entire Carina Nebula, cataloged as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light years and lies about 7,500 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. Eta Carinae, the most energetic star in the nebula, was one of the brightest stars in the sky in the 1830s, but then faded dramatically.

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geckzilla
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Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by geckzilla » Mon May 16, 2016 5:30 am

A note to the guest who posted an off-topic question here since I cannot PM you. It has been moved here:
http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 05#p257605
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

fireman bob

Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by fireman bob » Mon May 16, 2016 10:58 am

OMG, see the small people falling off the burning building!

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Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by bls0326 » Mon May 16, 2016 12:41 pm

Reading some of the links indicate Eta Carinae is one busy star (or binary).

Dad is watching

Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by Dad is watching » Mon May 16, 2016 7:51 pm

Amazing image. The description made us wonder tho. How thick would a hypothetical cloud of the earths atmosphere have be before it became similarly opaque?

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Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by Boomer12k » Mon May 16, 2016 8:38 pm

Yup... cloudy, busy place...

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Re: APOD: Clouds of the Carina Nebula (2016 May 16)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue May 17, 2016 4:57 am

Dad is watching wrote:Amazing image. The description made us wonder tho. How thick would a hypothetical cloud of the earths atmosphere have be before it became similarly opaque?
Atmospheric absorption at sea level, given rural air conditions, is about 1% per kilometer. So 1000 km of atmosphere- about what you have looking at the horizon, reduces the light by about 23,000 times, or 11 magnitudes. I don't know just exactly how opaque these nebulas are, but suffice to say that we're talking about light years of nebula having the same optical density as thousands of kilometers of atmosphere. Not surprising, as the densest nebulas are still what we'd consider to be hard vacuums, many, many orders of magnitude more tenuous than Earth's atmosphere.
Chris

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