A pair of star nurseries are lit up like cosmic neon signs, in this stunning new image by the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile.
These colorful glowing nebulae sit within the Large Magellanic Cloud—the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way some 160,000 light years from Earth.
The Large Magellanic Cloud is quite small compared to our Milky Way, with less than one tenth as much mass and spanning only 14,000 light-years, whereas the Milky Way stretches 100,000 light-years. Its irregular shape is likely a consequence of gravitational push and pull with the Milky Way and the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Best New Space Pictures: Cosmic Nursery, Lightning Strike
A cosmic nursery and and lightning seen from the International Space Station top our list of the best space pictures taken this week.