NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Large Magellanic Cloud. Optical image of part 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 contains around 10,000 million stars. Several pink emission nebulae are seen. These HII regions glow due to ionisation of the hydrogen gas they contain by radiation from hot young stars embedded in them. Stars are born from condensing gas in these nebulae. The largest is the Tarantula nebula (NGC 2070 or 30 Doradus, upper centre), one of the largest and most powerful nebulae known. Photographed by the Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile.
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