A new study using data from our NuSTAR space telescope suggests that Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years, is accelerating particles to high energies — some of which may reach Earth as cosmic rays, subatomic particles from outside our planet’s atmosphere.
Eta Carinae's great eruption in the 1840s created the billowing Homunculus Nebula, imaged here by our Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble). Now about a light-year long, the expanding cloud contains enough material to make at least 10 copies of our Sun. Astronomers cannot yet explain what caused this eruption.
Credit: NASA/@EuropeanSpaceAgency/@NASAHubble/SM4 ERO Team