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.

August 23, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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A Star Forming Region in the LMC
Credit: C. Smith (U. Michigan), Curtis Schmidt Telescope, CTIO, Chile

Explanation: Stars sometimes form in colorful ways. Pictured above is a small region in the nearby LMC galaxy where stars are forming. After a star is born, it may do several things to energize its immediate neighborhood. It may develop a strong wind which pushes away nearby gas; it may be so hot and intense that emitted light boils away nearby dust and gas, and it may be so massive that it soon goes supernova and catapults its elements back to the interstellar medium. Astronomers study regions like this - named DEM192 - to better understand how these and other processes proceed. This picture is a composite of three separate photographs, each sensitive to only one specific color of light - a color that distinguishes a specific chemical element.

Tomorrow's picture: The Snake Nebula in Ophiuchus

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.