The very bright star at the center of this image is WR 22. It's a rare example of a super massive star blasting its atmosphere apart and speeding towards death millions of times faster than our Sun.

The star is about 70 times the mass of our Sun, and it's bright enough that observers in the Southern Hemisphere can actually see it without even needing a telescope. It's located some 5000 light-years away - which means, because it's worth reminding ourselves of this every now and again, that you can actually see an object that's 30 quadrillion miles away. That's pretty bright.


As for the beautiful deep red regions that surround WR 22, they're the result of interactions between the extreme ultraviolet radiation it constantly emits and the huge clouds of hydrogen gas that make up its birthplace, the Carina Nebula. You can click the top image to get a closer look at WR 22.