Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2009 September 16
Explanation: The Tarantula Nebula is more than 1,000 light-years in diameter -- a giant star forming region within our neighbouring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). That cosmic arachnid lies left of centre in this sharp, colourful telescopic image taken through narrow-band filters. It covers a part of the LMC over 2,000 light-years across. Within the Tarantula (NGC 2070), intense radiation, stellar winds and supernova shocks from the central young cluster of massive stars, catalogued as R136, energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. Around the Tarantula are other violent star-forming regions with young star clusters, filaments and bubble-shaped clouds. The rich field is about as wide as the full Moon on the sky, located in the southern constellation Dorado.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.