The Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070)

Jon Greif
Location of photo
Siding Springs Observatory, NSW, Australia
Date/Time of photo
21 September 2017 at 0300 local time
Takahashi 90 mm refractor with wide field color camera, remotely taken from La Jolla, CA, USA, on
This is the Tarantula Nebula (otherwise known as 30 Doradus or NGC 2070). This spectacular nebula is found in a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. With an estimated diameter of 652 light years, the Tarantula Nebula is decisively the largest star forming region in our local group of galaxies. Even at distance of 180,000 light years, observers in the Southern Hemisphere can see it with the naked eye (though, it’ll look more like a small smudge). The Tarantula Nebula is so bright, were it as close to us as the Orion Nebula (~1,344 light years away), it would cast shadows on Earth and cover an area of sky several times the size of the full Moon. The next time you find yourself in the Southern Hemisphere and see a blurry spot in the sky, grab a pair of binoculars and prepare to be amazed.
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