Westerlund 2

This relatively young, 2-million-year-old star cluster contains some of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars in our galaxy.

Westerlund 2 is a giant, sparkling cluster of about 3,000 stars in a raucous stellar breeding ground called Gum 29. It is located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina. The largest stars unleash a torrent of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds that etch away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud. This results in a celestial landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys, unveiling some of nature's own fireworks.

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Object Name: Westerlund 2, Gum 29, NGC 3247

Release Date: Apr 23, 2015

Image Credits: NASA, ESA, A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team

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