Perhaps during its lonely journey into the depths of interstellar space AE Aurigae will encounter another, yet-unseen galactic nebula
, exciting the atoms in that gas cloud and tantalizing a new generation of skywatchers.
One striking image, taken with HST's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, peeks into the heart of a giant galactic nebula
() within which the star cluster NGC 3603 lies, about 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the Southern Hemisphere constellation Carina.
The nebula, located 1,500 light-years from Earth, is the nearest and brightest of all galactic nebulas
, in which recently formed stars are still surrounded by gases left over from the formation process.