April 7, 2006This leggy beauty harbors more than 200
massive stars in her brood. And there's more to comenew stars
appear to be popping out all over this thousand-light-year-wide
Released today by the European Southern Observatory, this image emphasizes the Tarantula Nebula's luminosity and spidery shapeboth whipped into being by the intense radiation and winds of the superhot star cluster at the picture's center.
At 170,000 light-years away, the nebula hangs above one of the closest galaxies to our own. Though near enough, big enough, and bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, the Tarantula Nebula looks best through a large telescopein this case, the Very Large Telescope, actually a cluster of four 8-meter-wide (26-foot-wide) telescopes in the Chile's Atacama Desert.
(See photos of the Atacama Desert.)
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