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.

May 23, 1996

Stellar Violence in 30 Doradus
Credit: Anglo-Australian Telescope photograph by David Malin
Copyright: Anglo-Australian Telescope Board

Explanation: The largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies lies in our neighboring galaxy the LMC. Were 30 Doradus at the distance of the Orion Nebula -- a local star forming region -- it would take up fully half the sky. Also called the Tarantula Nebula, the red gas indicates a massive emission nebula, although supernova remnants and dark nebula also exist in 30 Doradus. The bright knot of stars just below center is called R136 and contains many of the most massive, hottest, and brightest stars known.

Tomorrow's picture: In the Center of 30 Doradus

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