London: Large Magellanic Cloud, which is one of our closest galactic neighbours located only about 160 000 light-years from us, is actively forming new stars in regions that are so bright that some can even be seen from Earth with the naked eye.
An image, taken by ESO`s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, explores an area called NGC 2035, sometimes nicknamed the Dragon`s Head Nebula.
NGC 2035 is an HII region, or emission nebula, consisting of clouds of gas that glow due to the energetic radiation given off by young stars. This radiation strips electrons from atoms within the gas, which eventually recombine with other atoms and release light.
Mixed in with the gas are dark clumps of dust that absorb rather than emit light, creating weaving lanes and dark shapes across the nebula.
The clouds are several hundred light-years across and they are not in our galaxy, but far beyond.
The Large Magellanic Cloud is enormous, but when compared to our own galaxy it is very modest in extent, spanning just 14 000 light-years- about ten times smaller than the Milky Way.