Life Cycle of Stars, 1999.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
In this stunning picture of the giant galactic nebula NGC 3603, the crisp resolution of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures various stages of the life cycle of stars in one single view. To the upper left of center is the evolved blue supergiant called Sher 25. The star has a unique circumstellar ring of glowing gas that is a galactic twin to the famous ring around the supernova 1987A. The grayish-bluish color of the ring and the bipolar outflows (blobs to the upper right and lower left of the star) indicates the presence of procesed (chemically enriched) material. Near the center of the view is a so-called starburst cluster dominated by young, hot Wolf-Rayet stars and early O-type stars.