Around the Tarantula nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud
AAO image reference UKS 15a.    « Previous || Next »

Around the Tarantula nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, NGC 2070
Top left is NE. Image width is about 2 degrees
Image and text © 2000-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory
Photograph from UK Schmidt plates by David Malin.

In this picture we see the eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is in the southern constellation of Doradus. Here lies one of the most active star formation regions known. If this enormous complex of stars, gas and dust were at the distance of the better-known Orion Nebula the brightest parts of it would visible during the day and would cover a quarter of the sky at night.

While the Orion Nebula contains a mere handful of the hot blue stars which energise it, the Tarantula nebula has spawned many thousands in the bright central region, which surrounds a compact, brilliant cluster known as 30 Doradus. Like the Orion Nebula, the 30 Doradus region is a naked eye object for the keen sighted in the southern hemisphere. It is however over one hundred times more distant! Surrounding this nebula is a huge and much fainter series of interlocking bubbles and shells of gas and dust blown away from the center of activity by intense stellar winds and supernova explosions.

Related images
AAT 44.     The Tarantula nebula in the LMC
AAT 68.     The bright stars around 30 Doradus in the LMC
UKS 15.    The Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 14a.  The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 15.    The 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
Constellation of Dorado (external site)

For details of object position and photographic exposure, search technical table by UKS reference number.

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, July 25