Colorful Cluster of Stars Competes with the Tarantula Nebula

Article written: 7 Sep , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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Who can shine the brightest in the Large Magellanic Cloud? A brilliant cluster of stars, open cluster NGC 2100 shines brightly, competing with the nearby Tarantula Nebula for bragging rights in this image from ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT).

Observers perhaps often overlook NGC 2100 because of its close proximity to the impressive Tarantula. The glowing gas of the Tarantula Nebula even tries to steal the limelight in this image — the bright colors here are from the nebula’s outer regions, and is lit up by the hot young stars that lie within the nebula itself.

But back to the star cluster — this brilliant star cluster is around 15 million years old, and located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. An open cluster has stars that are relatively loosely bound by gravity. These clusters have a lifespan measured in tens or hundreds of millions of years, as they eventually disperse through gravitational interaction with other bodies.

This new picture was created from exposures through several different color filters.The stars are shown in their natural colors, while light from glowing ionized hydrogen (shown here in red) and oxygen (shown in blue) is overlaid.

See more info at the ESO website.

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