A mere 20,000 light-years from the Sun lies
a resident of the nearby Carina spiral arm of our
NGC 3603 is well known to astronomers as
one of the Milky Way's largest star-forming regions.
The central open star cluster contains thousands of stars
more massive than our Sun, stars that likely formed only
one or two million years ago in a single burst of star formation.
nearby NGC 3603 is thought to contain a convenient
example of the massive star clusters that
populate much more distant
are natal clouds of glowing
interstellar gas and obscuring dust, sculpted by energetic
stellar radiation and winds.
the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, the image
spans about 17 light-years.