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Accidental colours in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Tags: nebula, LMC, Large Magellanic Cloud

This image was intended to be an eye-catching image of a faint nebula (NGC 1714–15) and bright stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, but as the three separate exposures continued a cloud of another kind intervened.

The insulating vessel ('dewar') containing the CCD at liquid nitrogen temperatures at the AAT's prime focus sprung a slow leak and moisture from the air condensed on the cold window, creating a kind of fog filter. The pattern of condensation changed quickly over part of the glass, and was different for each exposure, hence the vivid (but completely unreal) colours in the haze haloes around some of the brighter stars.

Made from ""MITLL2" CCD RGB data obtained by Steve Lee and David Malin in December 1998
Top left is NE. Image width is about 12 arc min.

© Australian Astronomical Observatory