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Waspie_Dwarf

A Fiery Drama of Star Birth and Death

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A Fiery Drama of Star Birth and Death

The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the closest galaxies to our own. Astronomers have now used the power of ESO’s Very Large Telescope to explore one of its lesser known regions. This new image shows clouds of gas and dust where hot new stars are being born and are sculpting their surroundings into odd shapes. But the image also shows the effects of stellar death — filaments created by a supernova explosion.

Located only about 160 000 light-years from us in the constellation of Dorado (The Swordfish), the Large Magellanic Cloud is one of our closest galactic neighbours. It is actively forming new stars in regions that are so bright that some can even be seen from Earth with the naked eye, such as the Tarantula Nebula. This new image, taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, explores an area called NGC 2035, sometimes nicknamed the Dragon’s Head Nebula.

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Zooming in on the star formation region NGC 2035

This zoom sequence starts with a broad view of the whole sky. We gradually close in on the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small neighbouring galaxy to our Milky Way. The final close-up shows a VLT image of NGC 2035, a star formation region that has an adjacent remnant created by a supernova explosion.

Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)/Robert Gendler (http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/). Music: John Dyson

Source: ESO Observatory

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