It’s March 2021 and in about another month the Hubble Space Telescope will celebrate 31 years in space observing the universe.

In this image celebrating Hubble’s 30th birthday, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. The image is nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef,” because NGC 2014 resembles part of a coral reef floating in a vast sea of stars. Some of the stars in NGC 2014 are monsters. The nebula’s sparkling centerpiece is a grouping of bright, hefty stars, each 10 to 20 times more massive than our Sun. The seemingly isolated blue nebula at lower left (NGC 2020) has been created by a solitary mammoth star 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. The blue gas was ejected by the star through a series of eruptive events during which it lost part of its outer envelope of material.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA and STScI


在这张庆祝哈勃30岁生日的照片中,巨大的红色星云(NGC 2014)和它较小的蓝色邻居(NGC 2020)是大麦哲伦星云中巨大的恒星形成区域的一部分,大麦哲伦星云是银河系的一个卫星星系,位于16.3万光年之外。这张照片被戏称为“宇宙礁”,因为NGC 2014类似于漂浮在浩瀚恒星海洋中的一部分珊瑚礁。NGC 2014中的一些星星是怪物。星云的核心是一组明亮的、巨大的恒星,每一颗都比我们的太阳大10到20倍。左下方看似孤立的蓝色星云(NGC 2020)是由一颗比太阳亮20万倍的孤立的猛犸象恒星创造的。蓝色气体是由恒星通过一系列的爆发事件释放出来的,在这期间,它失去了部分外层物质。


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