Hubble shows some of the galaxy's biggest, brightest stars

Some are so intense that they'll go supernova within a few million years.

The Hubble Space Telescope still isn't done providing insights and pretty pictures -- far from it. Researchers have published a composite Hubble image showing the massive, extra-bright stars of the Trumpler 14 cluster, which sits 8,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula. It's dazzling, of course (NASA likens the stars to diamonds), but it's also a reminder that some celestial bodies lead short, intense lives. Many of the stars you see here are young (under 500,000 years old) blue-white variants burning so fiercely that they'll explode as supernovae within a few million years, rather than die relatively quietly over billions of years.

Don't mourn their brief lifespans. Those violent deaths will likely help form new stars, some of which are bound to last far longer than their predecessors. Nebulae already have a reputation as stellar nurseries... this picture just serves as vivid proof.

[Image credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz, Acknowledgment: N. Smith]