Friday, October 19, 2012

ESA Herschel Image: Large Dusty Magellanic Space Cloud

This image shows the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, a mission with important NASA contributions, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

In the instruments' combined data, this nearby dwarf galaxy looks like a fiery, circular explosion.

Rather than fire, however, those ribbons are actually giant ripples of dust spanning tens or hundreds of light-years.

Significant fields of star formation are noticeable in the centre, just left of center and at right.

The brightest centre-left region is called 30 Doradus, or the Tarantula Nebula, for its appearance in visible light.

Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech

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