The Henize 70 Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud
AAO image reference AAT 33.     « Previous || Next »

The Henize 70 Nebula (N70, DEM310 henize-70.jpg) in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Top left is NE. Image width is about 14 arc min
Image and text © 1983-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

At the centre of this remarkable bubble-like nebula nebula is a small group of extremely hot stars. Some of these stars are rapidly loosing mass and have stellar winds blowing from their surfaces with velocities that approach 4000 kilometers per second. Such stars are known as Wolf-Rayet stars and are found in galaxies capable of forming massive stars. There are many such stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) but not all of them are associated with distinctive nebulae.

The outward flowing streams of energetic particles from Wolf-Rayet (and other energetic stars) eventually interact with the relatively stationary interstellar medium pervading the LMC, releasing much of their energy as a thin spherical shell of luminous material. The hollow structure accounts for the shape we see in the sky. This nebula is almost 400 light years across, about 100 times the distance from the Sun to the nearest star. The LMC is about 170,000 light years away in the southern constellation of Dorado and is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way.

Related Images
AAT 33a.  The Henize 70 nebula in the LMC (wide field)
UKS 14.   The Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 14a. The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 16.   Star clouds north of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Constellation of Dorado (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1