The Doomed Star Eta Carinae

Boom! You're looking at the doomed binary star Eta Carinae which looks like it's exploding. The two lobes are actually hot gaseous matters and dust which are moving outwards at about 1,500,000 mph. Each of those lobes is about the size of our solar system (Eta Carinae itself is about 100 more massive than our own Sun).

First catalogued by astronomer Edmond Halley (of the Halley's Comet fame), Eta Carinae is a very odd star. In the mid 1800s, the star brightened significantly like it was going supernova, but actually, it didn't really explode. Eta Carinae survived though probably not for long.

Astronomers surmise that because of its mass and stage of life, Eta Carianae is expected to explode in a supernova or even hypernova sometime in the future. How soon? Nobody knows. It could be next year or a hundred thousand years from today. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

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Since Eta Carinae is 7,500 to 8,000 light-years from Earth, all this happened long ago, and the start might already have vanished in a supernova long ago.
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