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This image shows a giant star-forming region in the southern
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This image shows a giant star-forming region in the southern sky known as the Carina Nebula ...

April 14, 2010
This image shows a giant star-forming region in the southern sky known as the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372), combining the light from 3 different filters tracing emission from oxygen (blue), hydrogen (green) and sulphur (red). The color is also representative of the temperature in the ionized gas: blue is relatively hot and red is cooler.

The Carina Nebula is a good example of how very massive stars rip apart the molecular clouds that give birth to them. The bright star near the center of the image is Eta Carinae, which is one of the most massive and luminous stars known. This picture is a composite of several exposures made with the Curtis-Schmidt telescope at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.

More about this Image CTIO provides qualified scientists with telescopes and related facilities for astronomical research in the Southern Hemisphere. CTIO has offices, laboratories and living quarters in the coastal city of La Serena, Chile, 482-kilometers north of Santiago. The observing facilities are on Cerro Tololo, a 2,194-meter mountain on the western slopes of the Andes, 64-kilometers inland from La Serena.

CTIO operates the 4-meter Blanco telescope, which is a near twin to the 4-meter Mayall at Kitt Peak, Arizona, and a general-purpose 1.5-meter reflector. These telescopes are equipped with instruments similar to those at Kitt Peak. Several other telescopes operated by U.S. universities are also located on Cerro Tololo. A new technology 4-meter telescope (Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research, or SOAR) is under construction on nearby Cerro Pachon. CTIO is one of several observatories that make up the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO), a national center for research in ground-based, optical and infrared astronomy, supported by the National Science Foundation.


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