The Hubble Space Telescope has completed 28 years in orbit. One of NASA's main eyes in the sky has given humanity the chance to look at the cosmos like never before. Hubble has been, over the years, "giving us a window seat to the universe's extraordinary stellar tapestry of birth and destruction," says NASA. In commemoration of this landmark, the space agency has released a full-color image of an interstellar "landscape" 4,000 light years away.
In a release put out by NASA, it has explained the image as a "monster young star" in the center of the image is about 200,000 times brighter than the Sun. It is so powerful that it is shooting off powerful Ultra Violet (UV) radiation and stellar winds like hurricanes outward. This makes the entire image highly dramatic with cavities, ridges, mountains of gas and dust gushing over a backdrop of star clusters and galaxies.
This image of chaos and mayhem was captured happening at the center of the Lagoon Nebula. NASA calls it a stellar nursery, a place where stars are birthed. Standing on Earth, it would look like a smudge of light with a bright heart, notes the release.
The giant star in the middle, called Herschel 36 is seen literally being born, "bursting out of its natal cocoon of material, unleashing blistering radiation and torrential stellar winds," explains NASA. These winds are made of streams of subatomic particles and they gradually push the curtain like sheets of dust away. The scene is similar to our Sun bursting out from behind heavy storm clouds sending streaks of sunlight in rays in all directions.
Herschel 36's violent birth has punched holes in the bubble-shaped clouds that surround it, says NASA. It is through these holes that astronomers are able to peer inside this breeding ground where stars are born. The massive star is 32 times larger and about 40,000 times hotter than our Sun and about nine times the diameter of the Sun. In spite of being about a million years old, in star standards, that makes it but an infant, the reason why it is so active. Astronomers have estimated that based on its mass, the star will live on for another 5 million years or so. To put that in perspective, the Sun is about 5 billion years old and is likely to live on for 5 billion more years, says NASA.
The above image covers an area that measures 4 light-years across.