Astronomy Picture of the Week – Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud
This composite image of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on August 10, 2008, in commemoration of completing its 100,000th orbit in its 18th year since the beginning of the mission.
Only a small portion of the nebula is visible in this photo-montage. The star cluster NGC 2074 is also visible in the upper left of the image. The upper right corner was not photographed by Hubble so it has been filled with useful information such as the scale, the location or the color palette. Red shows emission from sulfur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.
The image reveals enormous clouds of dust and gaseous filaments glowing under ultraviolet radiation. The whole region is an incubator for the birth of new stars, which can be visible in this image.
The seahorse-shaped pillar at the lower right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
The nebula and the neighboring star cluster is in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite dwarf galaxy of the Milky Way located about 170,000 light-years away from Earth.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio (STScI)