Hubble images show two sides of a glowing blue variable – Astronomy Now


Two views of AG Carinae taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. On the left, ionized hydrogen and nitrogen in an expanding shell around the star are shown in red while dusty clumps and bubbles shaped by the solar wind are shown in blue on the right. Image: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Nota, C. Britt

Picking up the 31st anniversary image from the Hubble Space Telescope, the project team released two views of the bright blue variable AG Carinae, a massive star embedded in a 5-light-year shell of expanding gas and dust resulting from multiple eruptions in the past. 10,000 years that the star burns through its nuclear fuel. In one view, emissions of ionized hydrogen and nitrogen in the expanding envelope of earlier blown gas are shown in red while dust glowing in reflected light is shown in blue. AG Carinae continually loses mass, causing it to contract, heat up, and explosively eject materials into surrounding space. The gas (shown in red) making up the nebula surrounding the star is moving outward at about 43 miles per second. The dust in the shell (shown in blue) forms tufts, bubbles and filaments, shaped by the high-velocity stellar wind. Full-screen views highlighting both aspects of AG Carinae are shown below:

AG Carinae images: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Nota, C. Britt
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