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.

2008 March 12
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Star Forming Region LH 95
Credit: Hubble Heritage Team, D. Gouliermis (MPI Heidelberg) et al., (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA

Explanation: How do stars form? To better understand this complex and chaotic process, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to image in unprecedented detail the star forming region LH 95 in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. Usually only the brightest, bluest, most massive stars in a star forming region are visible, but the above image was taken in such high resolution and in such specific colors that many recently formed stars that are more yellow, more dim, and less massive are also discernable. Also visible in the above scientifically colored image is a blue sheen of diffuse hydrogen gas heated by the young stars, and dark dust created by stars or during supernova explosions. Studying the locations and abundances of lower mass stars in star forming regions and around molecular clouds helps uncover what conditions were present when they formed. LH 95 spans about 150 light years and lies about 160,000 light years away toward the southern constellation of the Swordfish (Dorado).

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