Recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope captured a fascinating phenomenon in the Carina Nebula, displaying ice sculptures that have melted into the nebula by radiation from massive stars that is driven by extreme stellar winds, which carves away at cold molecular clouds, resulting in strange, beautiful sculptures made of ice. Inside these figures, new stars will start to form. The incredible one-light-year-tall pillars are comprised of cold hydrogen and dust, creating one of nature’s most awe-inspiring natural ice sculpture designs in the midst of space. Some interesting facts about the Carina Nebula include the following:
- The vast Carina Nebula is situated approximately 7,500 light-years away, in the southern constellation of Carina
- The Carina Nebula is also known as the Great Nebula in Carina, the Eta Carina Nebula or NGC 3372
- Carina is a massive, bright nebula surrounding a number of open star clusters
- The Carina Nebula consists of a number of O-type stars and is one of the biggest diffuse nebulae in the galaxy, being four times as large and brighter than the Orion Nebula
- The nebula was discovered by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1750’s, from the Cape of Good Hope right here in South Africa
The mysteries of ice are apparent in almost every landscape, from deep down in the bowls of the earth, all the way through to galaxies that lie light-years away in space. It is only though tools like the Hubble Telescope that we are able to learn more about these sculptures that are found in space, giving us a fascinating insight into natural processes that cause the formation of more stars within the galaxy. Unlike any ice carvings that are done by man, these sculptures form shapes that are beyond the imagination – resulting in eerie, strange natural phenomena that can only ever be shared through technology such as the Hubble Space Telescope, which is able to monitor these incredible cosmic ice sculptures, giving us more information about the mysteries of our galaxies.