NGC 3372

NGC 3372 (Caldwell 92) or Eta Carinae Nebula

NGC 3372 or Caldwell 92 (also known as the Eta Carinae Nebula) is a diffuse nebula in the constellation Carina. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 6.2 and its angular diameter is 120x120 arc-minutes. NGC 3372 lies at an estimated distance of 7500 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are 10h 43.8m, -59° 52´ which makes NGC 3372 a Southern Hemisphere object that is best seen during the spring. The Caldwell Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Caldwell objects visible during that season. Visit the Caldwell Catalog Photo Gallery to see more objects from this catalog. As one of the more famous objects in the Caldwell Catalog, it is commonly known as the Eta Carinae Nebula.

Eta Carinae, the star at the center of the nebula is a stellar system containing at least two stars. The brighter component is a Luminous Blue Variable (LBV), which originally had a mass of around 150 solar masses, but is now about 120 solar masses. A hot supergiant of approximately 30 solar masses is believed to exist in orbit around the larger star. However, the thick red nebula surrounding Eta Carinae makes it impossible to see the system optically. Its combined luminosity is about five million times greater than the Sun. Because of its mass and late stage of life, Eta Carinae is expected to explode in a supernova in the astronomically near future. See Wikipedia for more details.

For a wider angle view of this object, see Eta Carinae with 180mm lens.

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