Hubble's Grand View of Star Birth
These two images, taken in visible and infrared light by the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveal a massive star cluster nestled in the largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood.
The massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The nebula is close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual stars, giving astronomers important information about the stars' birth and evolution.
In the image at left, taken in ultraviolet, visible, and red light, the stars look like icy blue diamonds. The green in the nebula is from the glow of oxygen and the red is from fluorescing hydrogen.
In the image at right, taken at infrared wavelengths, Hubble sees through the dusty nebula, revealing many stars that cannot be seen in the visible-light view. The large bright star just above the center of the image is in 30 Doradus. The observation was taken through two infrared filters (1.1 microns and 1.6 microns).
The Hubble observations of 30 Doradus were made Oct. 20-27, 2009.