A Shell in a Fish


supernova_shellThese thin wisps of gas are an object known as SNR 0519. The blood-red clouds are the remains from a violent explosion of a star as a supernova seen about 600 years ago. The star that exploded is known to have been a white dwarf star—a Sun-like star in the final stages of its life.

SNR 0519 is over 150 000 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish), a constellation that also contains most of our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, a region of the sky is full of intriguing and beautiful deep sky objects. The Large Magellanic Cloud orbits the Milky Way galaxy as a satellite and is the fourth largest in our group of galaxies.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Monster Stars


R136 observed with WFC3This Hubble image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The young and dense star cluster R136 can be seen the lower right of the image. This cluster contains hundreds of young blue stars. One of them is the most massive star detected in the universe to date.

Dozens of stars in the cluster exceed 50 solar masses, and nine very massive stars are all more than 100 times more massive than the Sun. The most massive is R136a1—weighing in at more than 250 solar masses.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

NGC 346


NGC 346NGC 346 is the brightest star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy about 210,000 light-years away from Earth. The light, stellar wind, and heat given off by massive stars have spread the glowing gas within and around this star cluster, forming the surrounding wispy, cowbell-like structure of the nebula.

Image Credit: NASA

Rotating a Galaxy


This animation illustrates the rotation rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Hubble Space Telescope observations have been used to determine that the central part of the LMC completes a rotation every 250 million years. It takes more than 10 million years for even the small amount of rotation illustrated in this video.

Video Credit: NASA

Blue Wisps


Turquoise-tinted plumes in the Large Magellanic CloudThis Hubble image shows part of the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The colors seen in this picture are different from what we normally see in the images of the Large Magellanic Cloud  because an unusual set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which passes red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. Hydrogen gas normally appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. In this case, however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.

Image Credit: NASA

A Spider in Space


TaranutlaSeveral million young stars are vying for our attention in this image of a stellar breeding ground in 30 Doradus, located in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula. Early astronomers nicknamed the nebula because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs.

30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region visible in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. It’s home to the most massive stars yet found.

This composite image is one of the largest mosaics ever assembled from Hubble photos and includes multiple observations taken by Hubble‘s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were combined with ground-based data taken with the European Southern Observatory’s 2.2-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / ESO

A Supernova Remnant


This tangled web is an object known as SNR 0454-67.2. It’s a supernova remnant created after a massive star ended its life in a cataclysmic explosion and threw off its constituent material out into surrounding space. SNR 0454-67.2 lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The remnant is probably the leftovers from a Type Ia supernova explosion. A Type IA supernova is the death of a white dwarf star that grown by siphoning material from a stellar companion until it reached critical mass and exploded.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

A Star Cluster in Another Galaxy


The clump of stars in the center of the picture is the globular cluster NGC 1898. It’s not in our galaxy. It’s near the middle of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of The Milky Way which contains a rich population of star clusters, making it an ideal laboratory for investigating star formation.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

Monster Stars


R136 observed with WFC3This Hubble image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The young and dense star cluster R136 can be seen the lower right of the image. This cluster contains hundreds of young blue stars. One of them is the most massive star detected in the universe to date.

Dozens of stars in the cluster exceed 50 solar masses, and nine very massive stars are all more than 100 times more massive than the Sun. The most massive is R136a1—weighing in at more than 250 solar masses.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Rotating a Galaxy


This animation illustrates the rotation rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Hubble Space Telescope observations have been used to determine that the central part of the LMC completes a rotation every 250 million years. It takes more than 10 million years for even the small amount of rotation illustrated in this video.

Video Credit: NASA

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

Rotating a Galaxy


This animation illustrates the rotation rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Hubble Space Telescope observations have been used to determine that the central part of the LMC completes a rotation every 250 million years. It takes more than 10 million years for even the small amount of rotation illustrated in this video.

Video Credit: NASA

The Honeycomb Nebula


The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the Milky Way’s closest companions. It’s only about 160,000 light-years away. It’s home to the Tarantula Nebula, one of the largest and most active star formation regions in our galactic neighborhood. This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a portion of the Tarantula Nebula filled with intriguing structure of stacked “bubbles” that form a nebula within the nebular, the Honeycomb Nebula (at the lower left).

The Honeycomb Nebula was found by accident when astronomers were using ESO’s New Technology Telescope to observe the remnants of a nearby supernova. The nebula’s strange bubble-like shape has has been a puzzle since its discovery in the 1990s. In 2010, a group of astronomers studied the nebula using computer modeling and came to the conclusion that its unique appearance may have been caused by the combined effects of two supernovae. A second explosion may have pierced the expanding shell of material created by an earlier supernova. The nebula’s odd appearance may result from our particular point of view and may not be visible when seen from another direction.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA