Finger of God (Carina)

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Keyhole Nebula - the Finger of God is in the upper left corner

The Finger of God in Carina, or God's Birdie, (both names are informal) is a nebula of dust and gas, approximately 8000 light-years from the Solar System, spanning approximately two light years, and seen within the Keyhole Nebula (part, in turn, of the Carina Nebula), whose diameter is roughly 60 light years). Light from bright stars nearby are expected to have dissipated it within a few million years.[1]

Although there were observations of Carina Nebula about 1751, of dramatic changes in it in 1841, and of the Keyhole later in that century, it was the Hubble Space Telescope that in 1999 revealed details of the Finger.[1] Portions of that image which include it (and most of a much larger adjacent nebula) have been used on widely advertised consumer products.


  1. ^ a b Robert Nemiroff & Jerry Bonnell, "Disappearing Clouds in Carina", Astronomical Photograph of the Day, 2003 June 30, NASA