Video: Superstar Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae is a double system containing the most luminous and massive star within 10,000 light-years.

Located about 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina the Keel, Eta Carinae consists of two massive stars. One star is an estimated 30 times our sun’s mass. The other star is thought to be 90 times our sun’s mass, outshining our sun by some 5 million times; it is the most luminous and massive star within 10,000 light-years of Earth. The very eccentric mutual orbit of the two massive stars of Eta Carinae bring them close every 5.5 years. At their closest approach, or periastron, the stars are only 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) apart, or about the average distance between Mars and the sun. The last time this happened was in August, 2014, when NASA astronomers turned their instruments on this system to study it in detail.

This video is the result of that detailed study. Fascinating!

Don’t want to watch? Read about it from NASA