Optical image of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Optical image of the Large Magellanic Cloud


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Large Magellanic Cloud. True-colour optical image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), an irregular satellite galaxy of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The LMC is around 160,000 light years from Earth, about 50,000 light years wide, and its mass is around 25 billion times that of the Sun. Several pink nebulae can be seen in this galaxy. These are regions of gas and dust which glow due to ionisation of hydrogen gas by hot young stars embedded in them. The largest is the Tarantula nebula (NGC 2070, upper left), one of the largest and most powerful nebulae known. This image was produced by digitally combining photographs taken by the UK Schmidt Telescope in blue and red light.

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