Hubble Heritage Archive: Open Cluster Trumpler 14

The text and images in this article were originally published on January 21, 2016, and reflect information about Trumpler 14 available at that time.

Hubble Unveils a Tapestry of Dazzling Diamond-Like Stars

Resembling an opulent diamond tapestry, this image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a glittering star cluster that contains a collection of some of the brightest stars seen in our Milky Way galaxy. Called Trumpler 14, it is located 8,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula, a huge star-formation region. Because the cluster is only 500,000 years old, it has one of the highest concentrations of massive, luminous stars in the entire Milky Way. (The small, dark knot left of center is a nodule of gas laced with dust, and seen in silhouette.)

Diamonds are forever, but these blue-white stars are not. They are burning their hydrogen fuel so ferociously that they will explode as supernovae in just a few million years. The combination of outflowing stellar “winds” and, ultimately, supernova blast waves will carve out cavities in nearby clouds of gas and dust. These fireworks will kick-start the beginning of a new generation of stars in an ongoing cycle of star birth and death.

This composite image of Trumpler 14 was made with data taken in 2005-2006 with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Blue, visible, and infrared broadband filters combine with filters that isolate hydrogen and nitrogen emission from the glowing gas surrounding the open cluster.

Featured Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain) Acknowledgment: N. Smith (University of Arizona) and J. Schmidt.

Fast Facts about Trumpler 14

About this Object

Object Name:Trumpler 14
Description:Open Cluster in the Carina Nebula
Position 
(J2000.0):
RA: 10h 43m 55.92s 
Dec: -59° 32′ 60.00”
Constellation:Carina
Distance:8,000 light-years (2,450 parsecs)

About the Data

Data Description:The HST data were taken from proposals 10241: N. Smith (University of Arizona), J. Bally (University of Colorado, Boulder), N. Walborn (STScI), and J. Morse (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); and 10602: J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain), N. Walborn and E. Nelan (STScI), N. Morrell (Carnegie Institution of Washington), and V. Niemela (Universidad Nacional de La Plata).
Instrument:ACS/WFC
Filters:F435W (B), F550M (V), F658N (H-alpha+[N II]), and F850LP (SDSS z)
Exposure Dates:July 17, 2005 and July 29, 2006

About this Image

Credit:NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain)
Release Date:January 21, 2016
Color:This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the ACS/WFC instrument. Several filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:

F435W (B) – blue
F550M (V) – green
F658N (Hα + [NII]) – red
F850LP (SDSS z) – purple

Additional Images of Trumpler 14

Can you Spot Trumpler 14 in the Carina Nebula?

Follow this link and see if you can spot Trumpler 14 in this Hα mosaic of the Carina Nebula. Refer to the image below to see if you were right!

The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme

Hubble’s view of the Carina Nebula shows star birth in a new level of detail in this 50-light-year-wide image. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process, these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born.

The immense nebula contains at least a dozen brilliant stars that are roughly estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. The most unique and opulent inhabitant is the star Eta Carinae, at far left. Eta Carinae is in the final stages of its brief and eruptive lifespan, as evidenced by two billowing lobes of gas and dust that presage its upcoming explosion as a titanic supernova.

The fireworks in the Carina region started three million years ago when the nebula’s first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen. Radiation from these stars carved out an expanding bubble of hot gas. The island-like clumps of dark clouds scattered across the nebula are nodules of dust and gas that are resisting being eaten away by photoionization.

The hurricane blast of stellar winds and blistering ultraviolet radiation within the cavity is now compressing the surrounding walls of cold hydrogen. This is triggering a second stage of new star formation. The Trumpler 14 cluster, with a mass of over 4,300 solar masses is responsible for many of the nearby globules and elephant trunks that are producing infant stars.

Our Sun and our solar system may have been born inside such a cosmic crucible 4.6 billion years ago. In looking at the Carina Nebula we are seeing the genesis of star making as it commonly occurs along the dense spiral arms of a galaxy. The immense nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina the Keel (of the old southern constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts, from Greek mythology).

This image is a mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled from 48 frames taken with Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were taken in the light of neutral hydrogen. Color information was added with data taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Red corresponds to sulfur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission.

Credit for Hubble image: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) 
Credit for CTIO image: N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley) and NOAO/AURA/NSF
Above Image Map Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI/AURA)

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