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A Stormy Stellar Nursery

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 (lmc).
ESA/Hubble & NASA

This cloudy, turbulent scene acquired by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2017 shows a stellar nursery within the Large Magellanic Cloud. This nursery, known as N159, contains many hot young stars. These stars emit intense ultraviolet light, which causes nearby hydrogen gas to glow, and torrential stellar winds, which carve out ridges, arcs, and filaments from the surrounding material. N159 is located over 160,000 light-years away, just south of the Tarantula Nebula.

At the heart of this cosmic cloud lies the Papillon Nebula, a butterfly-shaped region of nebulosity. This small, dense object is classified as a High-Excitation Blob, and is thought to be tightly linked to the early stages of massive star formation.

Text credit: European Space Agency