Object Name: NGC 3603 Image Type: Astronomical
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

ABOUT THIS IMAGE: October 2, 2007 Thousands of sparkling  young  stars  are
nestled  within the giant nebula NGC 3603.  This stellar "jewel box" is one
of the most Massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy.

NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina spiral arm of the
Milky  Way,  about  20,000 light-years away.  This latest image from NASA's
Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star  cluster  surrounded  by  a  vast
region  of  dust  and  gas.   The image reveals stages in the life cycle of

Powerful ultraviolet radiation and fast winds from the bluest  and  hottest
stars  have  blown  a  big  bubble  around  the  cluster.   Moving into the
surrounding nebula, this torrent  of  radiation  sculpted  the  tall,  dark
stalks  of  dense  gas, which are embedded in the walls of the Nebula These
gaseous monoliths are a few light-years  tall  and  point  to  the  central
cluster.  The stalks may be incubators for new stars.

On  a smaller scale, a cluster of dark clouds called "Bok" globules resides
at the top, right corner.  These clouds are composed of dense dust and  gas
and  are  about  10  to  50 times more massive than the Sun.  Resembling an
insect's cocoon, a Bok globule may be undergoing a  gravitational  collapse
on its way to forming new stars.

The  nebula  was  first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834.  The image
spans roughly 17 light-years and was taken Dec.  29, 2005 with the Advanced
Camera for Surveys.