Posts Tagged ‘N11’

Dragon Blazes in Light and Color


Light from the Large Magellanic Cloud takes nearly 200,000 years to travel to Earth. And it’s worth the wait. In this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a dragon roars out of the cloud, or maybe you see a rearing horse.

Explore the bright pockets of color, dark lanes of dark dust and blazing new stars in this image of LHA 120-N 11, or just simply N11, from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

This region of the Large Magellanic cloud is ablaze with star formation. It is the brightest and most prolific stellar nursery known to scientists. Explore the regions of colorful gas and dark fingers of fine dust. Hydrogen gas glows its characteristic pinkish-red throughout the image providing plenty of fuel for new stars. Massive stars, born from the cloud itself, blast the surrounding nebula with stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation that ionizes the hydrogen gas causing it to glow. Bright pockets of star formation, NGC 1769, in the center, and NGC 1763, to the right in the image, dominate this scene.

Alot of Hubble’s time is spent peering at the star clouds of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The LMC, an irregular dwarf galaxy, is close astronomically speaking. This proximity – less than one-tenth the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the closest large spiral galaxy – allows astronomers to study star formation as well as galaxy evolution in detail. It is also relatively clear of the Milky Way’s busy and dusty plane offering a clear view uncluttered by bright foreground stars. LMC shares some features with spiral galaxies, such as a single arm and a clearly visible central bar. Some research indicates that the small galaxy is just passing by, distorted by the gravitational tug of the much larger Milky Way Galaxy.

View more of Hubble’s Hidden Treasures.

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Space Brains, Beans and Bubbles

Credit: NASA, ESA and Jesús Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)

Resembling a giant brain, this image of N11 in the Large Magellanic Cloud from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is a space bubble filled with new stars.

Explore the image of N11, also known as the Bean Nebula. The pink hydrogen gas clouds, Bok globules, and pillars of gas and dust are all clues as to the true nature of the nebula. The Large Magellanic Cloud contains some of the largest star-making areas known to astronomers. N11 is one of the most active in the nearby Universe. N11 is the second largest star-making nebula in the LMC and produces some of the most massive stars known. Three generations of star clusters are found within this nebula. Look for the bright blue and yellow stars near the bottom of the image. This large cluster, called NGC 1761, appears to be the oldest while within the bean-shaped nebula itself resides the youngest cluster born out of the nebula. Between these two groups lie a tight cluster of stars. In each wave of star birth, shells of gas and dust are blown away from the new stars forming bubbles. This limits the growth of new stars in those areas but the concentration of gas and dust in other areas will create new areas where stars can form.

In the upper left lies the compact Rose Nebula. This newest area of star formation is lit up by bright stars within the nebula. Strong ultraviolet radiation from these massive, hot stars cause the rose-like petals of gas and dust of the nebula to glow.

You can also find a few background galaxies glowing through the pink nebula cloud. My favorite is the spiral galaxy near the bottom-right border of the nebula.


The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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