The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile provides a gorgeous view of NGC 3293, a compact cluster of young stars in the constellation Carina that was born 10 million years ago in a fertile nursery of gas and dust near the Eta Carina nebula complex. Similar in age to the more famous Jewel Box cluster, NGC 3293, aka the Gem, was discovered in 1752 by Abbe Nicholas Louis de la Callé. In the second edition of Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes (AOST2), David Frew describes the Gem cluster as “reminiscent of the Jewel Box, containing a bright red supergiant which contrasts nicely with the other cluster members. It is a fine object in even the smallest telescopes.”
Combining images taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope over more than 20 years, a team of researchers has discovered that Eta Carinae, a very massive star system that has puzzled astronomers since it erupted in a supernova-like event in the mid-19th century, has a past that’s much more violent than they thought.
Space bears witness to a constant stream of star births. Whole star clusters are often formed at the same time — and within a comparatively short period. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg have proposed a new mechanism that relies on the interplay between magnetic fields and gravitation to explain this quick formation, investigating a filament of gas and dust which also includes the well-known Orion Nebula.