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December 12, 2005

30 Doradus, the Tarantula Nebula, in the Large Magellanic Cloud

30 Doradus, the Tarantula Nebula, in the Large Magellanic Cloud

This image of 30 Doradus--the Tarantula Nebula--in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) was taken with the Curtis Schmidt telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. It was taken as part of the Magellanic Cloud Emission Line Survey (MCELS) project.

More about this Image
The Tarantula Nebula is a giant star-forming region where energy from hot, young stars in the region creates dramatic voids and filaments in the surrounding gas. Located 160,000 light-years distant in the southern constellation Dorado, the LMC is considered the closest large galaxy to Earth.

Because of the proximity and low foreground absorption of the LMC, it is an ideal laboratory both for studies of individual HII regions, supernova remnants and superbubbles, and for investigations of global properties using samples of these objects.

MCELS is designed to provide uniform datasets in optical emission lines that are necessary to conduct this research. The MCELS observations toward the 30 Doradus region have been used to investigate the physical properties of the HII region, examine the physical conditions of supernova remnants in the field, and study the large-scale structure of the ionized gas.

This color image was produced using three separate exposures taken in hydrogen (red), sulfur (green) and oxygen (blue) filters.

Credit: Credit S. Points, C. Smith, R. Leiton, C. Aguilera and NOAO/AURA/NSF

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