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.

October 27, 1999
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In the Heart of the Tarantula Nebula
Credit: Gary Bernstein & Megan Novicki (U. Michigan);
Copyright: U. Michigan, Lucent

Explanation: In the heart of monstrous Tarantula Nebula lies one of the most unusual star clusters. Known as NGC 2070 or R136, it is home to a great number of hot young stars. The energetic light from these stars continually ionizes nebula gas, while their energetic particle wind blows bubbles and defines intricate filaments. The above representative-color picture of this great LMC cluster details its tumultuous center in gas, dust and young stars. The 30 Doradus nebula is one of the largest star-formation regions known, and has been creating unusually strong episodes of star formation every few million years. In the heart of this heart is a central knot of stars that is so dense it was once thought to be a single star.

Tomorrow's picture: X-Ray Jet From Centaurus A

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