Photograph by Miloslav Druckmüller
The Magellanic Clouds—two gauzy patches of light (at far right)—share the sky above the Patagonian Andes with a streaking comet and the luminous band of the Milky Way.
Photograph by NASA/European Space Agency (ESA)
Stars a hundred times more massive than the sun pierce the roiling haze of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Gas and dust from exploding stars serve as seed matter for new stars, making this one of the most active stellar nurseries in our galactic neighborhood.
Photograph by NASA/STSCI/Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)
A Star's Brilliant Final Act
The brightest supernova in 400 years resembles a cosmic string of pearls. It was seen in 1987 amid vast billows of gas in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Photograph by NASA/ESA/Pete Challis, CFA.
Hubble Space Telescope images show that as the supernova faded over time, debris from the explosion collided with a ring of material ejected thousands of years earlier by the dying star, generating x-rays that illuminate the ring. By 2011 debris in the center of the ring, which is about a light-year in diameter, was blazing more intensely as the supernova entered a new stage of stellar demise.
Image produced by combining and coloring optical and x-ray data. NASA/ESA/Chandra X-Ray Telescope/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory/STSCI/AURA/John Hughes, Rutgers University
A centuries-old supernova remnant, its rose-tinted shock wave blasting outward at more than 11 million miles an hour, hangs in the Large Magellanic Cloud like an iridescent holiday ornament.