Nasa Reveals Amazing 'Celestial Fireworks' Image That Looks like 'July 4th Display'

test NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), F. Paresce (National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy), E. Young (Universities Space Research Association/Ames Research Center), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team

NASA has released a spectacular image showing a glittering collection of young stars that almost looks like a "July 4th fireworks display," according to a statement from the space agency.

The stars reside in the center of a nebula—a vast cloud of interstellar gas and dust—known as NGC 3603, located around 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina. In the central region of this nebula is a huge cluster of young, hot stars.

The relatively clear environment surrounding the bright stars in the center of the image appears serene, however, this is far from the case. This vast cavity was created by powerful ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds that have blown away the gas and dust that make up the nebula.

The bright stars were mostly born around the same time, although they differ in size, mass, temperature and color. The lifecycle of a star is defined by its mass, so despite those in the cluster having similar ages, they may still be at very different stages of their development. In light of this, analyzing clusters such as these can be particularly beneficial to researchers.

NGC 3603 is especially interesting because it is the most massive visible cloud of glowing gas and plasma—the fourth fundamental state of matter—in the Milky Way.

Meanwhile, its central star cluster is the densest concentration of very massive stars in the galaxy. In fact, this cluster contains three of the most massive and most luminous stars known to science. Enormous stars such as these burn through their hydrogen fuel relatively quickly, ending their lives in titanic supernova explosions.

Studying clusters like the one found at the center of NGC 3603 can help scientists to better understand how massive stars formed in the early distant universe.

NGC 3603 was first observed by English astronomer and polymath John Herschel during a visit to South Africa in 1834. He later catalogued it as a nebula in his Results of Astronomical Observations made at the Cape of Good Hope, which was published in 1847.

The NASA image is a combination of two pictures captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in August 2009 and December 2009 using its Wide Field Camera 3 that can detect both visible and infrared light.