Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Back in March of 2006 Hubble aimed its eye at the southern hemisphere’s greatest night sky prize, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), specifically at this star forming association cataloged as LH-95. The LMC itself is a large satellite galaxy to our home galaxy and it resides about 160,000 light years away and LH-95 is just one of hundreds of star forming regions within it.
Long ago, this region was a vast cloud of interstellar material. As it condensed under its own gravity it also became very hot until eventually pressures and temperatures were so great that fusion was able to take place, sparking these stars into existence. Once born one by one over millions of years, these newborns and their stellar winds began the task of blowing away the left over material that created them so they could get their first look at the universe that they were created from.
One of the real treats in this image isn’t the star forming region itself, but what’s behind it. If you expand this image there are dozens of galaxies also in view, tens of millions of light years beyond.
WHAT IS IT?: Star forming region.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 160,000 light years-ish.
HOW BIG IS IT?: 140 light years.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): R.A. 05h 37m 4s.37 / Dec. -66° 22′ 1.”6.
Hubble News Center page for this image: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2006/55/