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.

Star Cluster Nebula NGC 2074 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

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)

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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