AAO image reference AAT 68. « Previous || Next »
Top left is NE. Image width is about 4 arc min
Image and text © 1991-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.
The brightest cluster of stars in this picture was believed until recently to contain a single, uniquely massive object with the mass equivalent to 1000 suns, and was named as a star, 30 Doradus. Sophisticated image analysis techniques have been used to show that 30 Doradus is a very compact group of stars, many of which are massive, but not unimaginably so. The radiation from this star cluster is sufficient to excite a huge cloud of hydrogen gas in its vicinity so that it glows with its distinctive red colour. This picture is essentially a one minute exposure. A longer exposure would show that the curving tendrils of nebulosity are the brightest parts of the huge Tarantula nebula, one of the largest star-forming regions known anywhere. It is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way, in the constellation of Dorado.
AAT 44. The Tarantula nebula in the LMC
AAT 68. The bright stars around 30 Doradus in the LMC
UKS 14. The Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 14a. The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 15. The 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
UKS 15a. Around the 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
Constellation of Dorado (external site)
For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number.
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