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.

July 25, 1997
Stellar Laboratories in the LMC
Credit: C. Smith (U. Michigan), Curtis 0.9-m Telescope, Chile

Explanation: Stars are evolving in the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC). This is particularly evident in the above close-up of the LMC's edge, which appears about as large as the full moon. Visible only in the southern hemisphere, the LMC is one of the closest galaxies to our own Milky Way Galaxy at only 175,000 light years away. The LMC is one of only five galaxies visible to the unaided eye. The red bubbles are gas clouds dominated by dust and young stars which are continually forming. The green bubbles are clouds left over from relatively recent supernova explosions of massive stars. Astronomers are still unsure of many details in the tortured history of this irregular galaxy.

Tomorrow's picture: M81 in True Colour

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.