NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Large Magellanic Cloud. 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 and about 50,000 light years wide. Several pink nebulae can be seen in this galaxy. These are starbirth 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, centre right), one of the largest and most powerful nebulae known.
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