The Hubble Space Telescope has captured Eta Carinae’s fireworks in red, white and blue, just in time for Independence Day.
Eta Carinae is a binary star system located 7,500 light-years away in the Carina constellation. One of its two stars, which orbit each other, is large, highly unstable and nearing the end of its life. The dynamic stellar duo occasionally produces violent outbursts.
The system’s most famous outburst occurred in 1838. In the wake of the eruption, the stars gradually brightened. By 1844, Eta Carinae was the second brightest star in the night sky.