When it comes to spotting natural wonders, look no further than the night sky.
As of January 20, stargazers are now able to see the rare lineup of all five planets in the predawn darkness. The magic of space continues as the Hubble Space Telescope captures a stunning celestial photograph. This picture reveals the star cluster Trumpler 14, one of the largest clumps of bright stars in the Milky Way.
The brightest star in Trumpler 14 is the solar supergiant, HD 93129Aa. (It’s also one of the brightest stars in the entire galaxy.) Despite that, the star is actually quite young for its age at a half a million years old.
From US News:
“These stars are rapidly working their way through their vast supplies of hydrogen, and have only a few million years of life left before they meet a dramatic demise and explode as supernovae,” NASA explained in a press release. “In the meantime, despite their youth, these stars are making a huge impact on their environment.”
Trumpler 14 is located 8,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula, a region of huge star-formations. Take note while you can, because star clusters like this one won’t last forever. These blue-white stars are burning hydrogen fuel so fiercely that they will likely explode into a supernova in a few million years or so.
The combination of outflowing stellar “winds” and, ultimately, supernova blast waves will carve out cavities in nearby clouds of gas and dust. These fireworks will kick-start the beginning of a new generation of stars in an ongoing cycle of star birth and death.
Astronomers are estimating that 2,000 stars make up Trumpler 14. Each star widely varies in size, with some less than one-tenth and others 10 times the mass of the sun.
The image above was created with data found in 2005-2006 using Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet at amandakohr.com and through Instagram.