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July 17, 2014 AT 8:00 am

NASA 3D prints first hi-def 3D model of light-year-long Eta Carinae nebula #3DxScience #3DThursday #3DPrinting

NASA 3D prints first hi-def 3D model of light-year-long Eta Carinae nebula, from 3Ders.org:

…Researchers at NASA have not only successfully map the entire Eta Carinae Homunculus Nebula for the first time, but also developed a 3D model of the expanding cloud produced by it during its 19th century outburst.

Eta Carinae lies about 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation of Carina and is one of the most massive binary systems astronomers can study in detail. The smaller star is about 30 times the mass of the sun and may be as much as a million times more luminous. The primary star contains about 90 solar masses and emits 5 million times the sun’s energy output.

In the middle of the 19th century, the massive binary system Eta Carinae underwent an eruption that ejected at least 10 times the sun’s mass and made it the second-brightest star in the sky.

As a part of this event, which astronomers call the Great Eruption, a gaseous shell was shot into space. This material forms a twin-lobed dust-filled cloud known as the Homunculus Nebula, which is now about a light-year long and continues to expand at more than 1.3 million mph (2.1 million km/h)….

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