Eta Carina

Right ascension:   10:43:06.9   Magnitude:  6
    Declination:  -59:25:16

Image:  FES 1571
 Date:  1984 Aug 8  2:20 UT

Exposure duration:  160 sec

Eta Carina is an object embedded in a bright nebula and small dusty cloud it produced following a bright outburst in the 1840s. By 1843 it had become the second-brightest star in the sky (m ~ -1). It is currently just below naked-eye visibility. Located about 6800 light-yrs away, it has a mass of about 50 to 100 times that of the Sun, with a luminosity 5 million times greater. It appears to be composed of four stars, the brightest of which outshines the others by a factor of twelve. Eta Carina is a likely candidate as a future supernova, which could become brighter than Venus as seen from Earth.
Last updated: 08 April 1998
Obtained from IUE project at Goddard Space Flight Center