A satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way, the Large Magellanic Cloud
(LMC) is an alluring sight
in dark southern skies and the constellation
A mere 180,000 light-years distant,
the LMC is seen in amazing detail in this
deep 4 frame mosaic of telescopic images,
a view that reveals the
satellite to have the appearance
of a fledgling barred spiral galaxy.
The mosaic includes image data taken through a narrow filter
that transmits only the red light of hydrogen atoms.
by energetic starlight, a hydrogen atom emits the
as its single electron is
recaptured and transitions to lower energy states.
As a result, this mosaic seems spattered with
pinkish clouds of hydrogen gas surrounding massive, young stars.
Sculpted by the strong stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation,
the glowing hydrogen clouds are known as
(ionized hydrogen) regions.
Composed of many overlapping clouds,
the sprawling Tarantula Nebula
left of center, is by far the LMC's largest star forming region.
The Large Magellanic Cloud is about 15,000 light-years across.
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