|Credits: NASA, ESA, STScI|
To celebrate the 31st birthday of the Hubble space telescope NASA has released a stunning picture a giant star ‘waging a tug-of-war between gravity and radiation to avoid self-destruction’. The star in question is AG Carinae, and it’s shown surrounded by a glowing pink cloud of dust and gas that measures five light-years across.
According to NASA the star was created from giant eruptions that occurred 10,000 years ago, and which blew out the star’s outer layers. This left a constant battle between the radiation pressure from the star pushing matter outwards, and gravity pushing it back again. When the outward pressure is more powerful than gravity the star expands, and creates colorful nebula as seen here.
AG Carinae is truly massive, and is thought to be 70 times bigger than our Sun and a million times brighter. The picture was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope using both visible and ultraviolet light, which it can do as it is beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.