The Tarantula Nebula is a diffuse nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The Tarantula nebula

Also known as NGC 2070, it was originally thought to be a star, subsequently named 30 Doradus. In 1751, Abbe Lacaille recognized its nebula nature.

The Tarantula Nebula has an apparent magnitude of 8. Considering its distance of about 160,000 light years, this is an extremely luminous object. In fact, it is the most active starburst region known in the Local Group of galaxies. At its core, an extremely compact cluster of hot stars produces most of the energy that makes the nebula visible.

Notes on the picture

The Tarantula Nebula is more than 1,000 light-years across - a giant emission nebula within our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud. Inside this cosmic arachnid lies a central young cluster of massive stars, cataloged as R136, whose intense radiation and strong winds have helped energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. In this color mosaic of images from the Wide-Field Imager camera on ESO's 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla Observatory, other young star clusters can be seen still within the nebula's grasp. Also notable among the denizens of the Tarantula zone are several dark clouds invading the nebula's outer limits as well as the dense cluster of stars NGC 2100 at the extreme left edge of the picture. The field of view covers an area of the sky about the size of the full moon in the southern constellation Dorado.
(Text courtesy of APOD/ESO)

External link

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