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

Earth's deep mantle flows dynamically

March 25, 2019

As ancient ocean floors plunge over 1,000 km into the Earth's deep interior, they cause hot rock in the lower mantle to flow much more dynamically than previously thought, finds a new UCL-led study.

Scientists solve mystery shrouding oldest animal fossils

March 25, 2019

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered that 558 million-year-old Dickinsonia fossils do not reveal all of the features of the earliest known animals, which potentially had mouths and guts.

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.