Image: A stormy stellar nursery

June 19, 2017, European Space Agency
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; CC BY 4.0

This shot from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The stormy scene shows a known as N159, measuring over 150 light-years across. It is known as a HII region, meaning it is rich in ionised hydrogen. Indeed, it contains many hot young stars that are emitting intense ultraviolet light, which causes nearby hydrogen gas to glow. Torrential stellar winds are also carving out ridges, arcs and filaments from the surrounding material.

At the heart of this cosmic cloud lies the Papillon Nebula, a butterfly-shaped region of nebulosity dominating the left of the scene. This compact nebula likely contains massive stars in the very early stages of formation. Its shape earned it the name (papillon being French for butterfly) and was first resolved by Hubble in 1999.

N159 is located over 160 000 light-years away. It resides just south of the Tarantula Nebula, another massive star-forming complex within the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Explore further: Image: Hubble peers into the Large Magellanic Cloud

Related Stories

Festive nebulae light up Milky Way Galaxy satellite

December 20, 2016

The sheer observing power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is rarely better illustrated than in an image such as this. This glowing pink nebula, named NGC 248, is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, just under 200 ...

Hubble views grand star-forming region

March 9, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- This massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of ...

Image: Hubble catches detail of the Large Magellanic Cloud

March 7, 2014

(Phys.org) —This stunning new Hubble image shows a small part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the closest galaxies to our own. This collection of small baby stars, most weighing less than the sun, form a young stellar ...

Recommended for you

Drilling success: Curiosity is collecting Mars rocks

May 23, 2018

Engineers working with NASA's Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them. This past weekend, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars ...

Rosetta unravels formation of sunrise jets

May 23, 2018

The atmosphere of Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is far from homogeneous. In addition to sudden outbursts of gas and dust, daily recurring phenomena at sunrise can be observed. In these, evaporating gas and entrained ...

Astronomers spot a distant and lonely neutron star

May 23, 2018

Astronomers have discovered a special kind of neutron star for the first time outside of the Milky Way galaxy, using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.