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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
The Giant Nebula NGC 3603
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The Giant Nebula, NGC 3603

November 8, 2011
Thousands of sparkling young stars nestled within the giant nebula NGC 3603. This stellar "jewel box" is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way, about 20,000 light-years away. This image shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas. The image reveals stages in the life cycle of stars. The nebula was first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834. The image spans roughly 17 light-years.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage