Turquoise-tinted plumes in the Large Magellanic Cloud

The brightly glowing plumes seen in this image are reminiscent of an underwater scene, with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings.

However, this is no ocean. This image actually shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has peeked many times into this galaxy, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars (opo9944a, heic1301, potw1408a).

This image shows part of the Tarantula Nebula's outskirts. This famously beautiful nebula, located within the LMC, is a frequent target for Hubble (heic1206, heic1402). 

In most images of the LMC the colour is completely different to that seen here. This is because, in this new image, a different set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which selects the red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.

This data is part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1000 images taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments. Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars.

A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Josh Barrington

About the Image

Id:potw1441a
Type:Observation
Release date:13 October 2014, 10:00
Size:1483 x 1194 px

About the Object

Name:Large Magellanic Cloud
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Irregular
Distance:150000 light years
Constellation:Dorado
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

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1.1 MB
Screensize JPEG
513.8 KB

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1.7 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):5 38 9.35
Position (Dec):-69° 1' 49.31"
Field of view:2.46 x 1.98 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 58.0° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Ultraviolet
U
300 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
B
450 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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