Astronomy Picture of the Day

30 Doradus: The Tarantula Zone

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30 Doradus: The Tarantula Zone

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
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 impressive color mosaic of images from the
Curtis Schmidt telescope at
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
(CTIO) in Chile,
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, sprawling wispy filaments of gas,
compact emission nebula,
nearly spherical supernova remnants,
and areas surrounding hot stars known as superbubbles.

The rich mosaic's field of view covers an area on the sky
about the size of the full moon in the southern
constellation Dorado.

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