Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2004 July 7
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N11B: Star Cloud of the LMC
Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA / STScI), Y.-H. Chu (UIUC) et al., ESA, NASA

Explanation: Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbour known as the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC). The above image actually highlights N11B, part of the nebula that spans about 100 light years and is particularly active. The entire emission nebula N11 is second in LMC size only to 30 Doradus. Studying the stars in N11B has shown that it actually houses three successive generations of star formation. Compact globules of dark dust housing emerging young stars are also visible on the upper right.

Tomorrow's picture: southern cross

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