Stellar Nursery

Tides of light formed by clusters of massive young hot stars illuminate the hot gases of the Tarantular Nebula in this image taken last night.

NGC 2070 is the largest and brightest emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and one of the largest emission nebulae known. Considering its distance of about 160,000 light years, it is so bright that if it were as close to Earth as the Orion Nebula, the Tarantula Nebula would cast shadows.

The nebula resides on the leading edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud, where the compression of the interstellar medium likely results in a very active star formation region. In fact, it is the most active starburst region known in the Local Group of galaxies. Although the Tarantula is roughly 100 times larger than the famous Orion Nebula, it is illuminated in the same way: by the ultraviolet radiation from a collection of hot, young, massive stars embedded within it. At its core lies the extremely compact cluster of stars R136a, which produce most of the energy that makes the nebula visible.

Supernova 1987A occurred in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula. This was the closest supernova since the invention of the telescope – and a harbinger of what lies in store for many of the Nebula's stars. (Information – Sky Safari)

Recently, as part of the Hubble Tarantula Treasury Project, the Hubble Space Telescope began an initiative to map stars within the nebula in order to understand its structure more thoroughly. The Tarantula Nebula is thought now to represent an environment that could be similar to the extreme conditions that existed during the early universe. (Huffington Post – 23 January 2014)

Canon 7D Prime Focussed through Celestron CPC 9.25. 50 Light Frames & 12 Dark Frames – Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in Lightroom 4. ISO 3200. Exposure 20 sec

Imaged 25 January 2014 at 2200 hrs


2 thoughts on “Stellar Nursery

  1. Your photography of the Universe is beyond beautiful! I’m so grateful that I discovered your blog! I have never seen more stunning and breathtaking images! Love Cosmos, Carl Sagan, I grew up watching him and loving every bit of it. Thank you for sharing your one of a kind images!


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