Our closest galactic neighbor is shrouded in dust

This doesn't look much like a galaxy, but it is in fact the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the biggest satellite galaxies of our Milky Way. This awesome infrared image reveals the real look of this galaxy like never before.

While images taken in the optical wavelengths reveal a more familiar view of the Large Magellanic Cloud, this composite image created by the Herschel Space Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope reveals all the hidden dust clouds that seem to completely engulf the galaxy. Like many irregular galaxies, this galaxy is heaving with constant star formation, and that kicks up a ton of dust. NASA explains:

The dust temperatures tend to trace star forming activity. Spitzer data in blue hues indicate warm dust heated by young stars. Herschel's instruments contributed the image data shown in red and green, revealing dust emission from cooler and intermediate regions where star formation is just beginning or has stopped. Dominated by dust emission, the Large Magellanic Cloud's infrared appearance is different from views in optical images. But this galaxy's well-known Tarantula Nebula still stands out, easily seen here as the brightest region to the left of center.



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