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NGC 2014, Henize 55 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Tags: galaxy, nebula, AAT, cluster

The nearby Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is a very active star-forming galaxy. The most massive region of star formation is around 30 Doradus (the Tarantula nebula) which can be seen with the unaided eye, but hundreds of lesser examples are visible with a telescope. This picture shows one of the more intriguing, NGC 2014 (Henize 55). It contains cluster of hot, young stars, almost hidden in the brightest part of the nebula. The energetic ultraviolet light from these stars is absorbed by hydrogen and produces the distinctive red glow from an enormous distance around the cluster.

As well as radiating strongly in ultraviolet light (a result of their high temperature) massive young stars also produce vigorous stellar winds. Eventually they will disperse the hydrogen around them, evacuating a bubble-like nebula. To the left of the main cluster a single star has begun this process, creating a strange hollow shape. NGC 2014 is also visible just left of the centre of the UK Schmidt photo of the north-eastern parts of the LMC.

Made from "MITLL3" CCD RGB data obtained by Steve Lee and David Malin in January 2000
Top left is NE. Image width is about 7 arc min.

© Australian Astronomical Observatory