The Tarantula Nebula, around the 30 Dor cluster
AAO image reference AAT 44.    « Previous || Next »

The Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070, around the 30 Dor cluster in the LMC, 30dor.jpg, ngc2070.jpg, tarantula_nebula.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 15 arc min
Image and text © 1984-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.


This object is the only extra-galactic nebula which can be seen with the unaided eye. It is a faint but distinct patch of light at the eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud, 170,000 light years distant in Dorado. A small telescope reveals narrow spindly tendrils of glowing gas which have been likened to the legs of a spider. The 'body' of the spider is the bright nebula seen at the centre of the photograph, while at its core is an extremely dense clump of very hot stars, until recently thought to a single, unusually massive star known as 30 Doradus. The very hot stars of 30 Dor are responsible for making the nebula visible.

Related Images
AAT 68.    The bright stars around 30 Doradus in the LMC
UKS 15.   The Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 14a. The eastern end of the Large Magellanic Cloud
UKS 15.   The 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
UKS 15a. Around the 30 Doradus Nebula in the LMC
UKS 28.   The Henize 55 nebula in the LMC
Constellation of Dorado (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1