EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Tarantula nebula. Also known as 30 Doradus and NGC 2070, this emission nebula is nearly 1000 light years across. It is located 170,000 light years from Earth, in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), in the constellation Doradus. Two bright clusters of stars are seen here. The star cluster R136 (centre) is only 2-3 million years old, and its massive, young, hot stars are shaping the dust of the nebula (glowing red). Another star cluster, Hodge 301 (upper right) is 20 million years old, and includes supernova remnants. The area at lower left includes gas pillars where stars are forming. The data for this image were obtained in 2002 and 2003 using the FORS1 instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
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