The Large Magellanic Cloud

This is not a photograph. It’s a map of radiation detected by ESA’s Gaia spacecraft while observing the Large Magellanic Cloud. The color of each pixel was derived from data taken through different filters.

The image is dominated by the brightest, most massive stars. They outshine their fainter, lower-mass counterparts. The central bar of the LMC is readily visible, as are individual regions of star formation such as 30 Doradus, visible just above the center of the galaxy.

Image Credit: ESA

Coming to a Solar System Near You

In about 1,350,000 years, the star Gliese 710 will pass near our Sun. It will come inside of our Solar System and enter the Oort Cloud. This animation shows the stars motion against the background of others as it is expected to be seen from the inner Solar System during the period of 1,100,000 to 1,500,000 years from now. The star position forecasting is based on data from ESA’s Gaia satellite. Gliese 710 is an orange dwarf that is somewhat smaller and somewhat dimmer than the Sun. It is currently estimated that the star at its closest approach will probably be about as bright in the Earth’s night sky as the planet Mars at its closest.

Video Credit: ESA