NGC 2070 The Tarantula Nebula

The Tarantula Nebula NGC 2070 (Object No. 2070 in the New General Catalogue) can be found within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the constellation Dorado.


Image Data: Telescope Takahashi SQ106ED @f/5, Camera Atik 460EXM, 15x600s Ha, 12X600s O[III], 9x300s RGB

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is an irregular dwarf galaxy in roughly 163.00 light years distance from the milkyway. In the center of the brightest areas of the Tarantula Nebula a whole star cluster is located, R136, whose hot blue stars excite the surrounding gas clouds to emit light - what we see in the shapes of the nebula. The star cluster R136 contains the largest and most massive star ever found (status 2010), labeled R136a, weighing 265 times the mass of the sun and emitting light at the power of 10 million times the absolute power of our sun. Around the Tarantula Nebula various members of object classes can be found (e.g. globular clusters) in the image in smaller scale compared to those observable within our galaxy due to the large distance - yet not too large to be able to observe details. The image of the Tarantula Nebula is therefore like having a view on at puppet house version of our home galaxy. In the picture below one can find annotation on star clusters obtained from the catalogue under


Tarantula Nebula with marked star clusters

The combination of O3-, Ha- and RGB-channels to the above false colour images emphasises the star formation regions. A large number of hot and blue stars populate the area and the gas clouds are excited to emitt in the O[III] bands besides the high signal intensity in Ha.

It would habe been beneficial if the field of view was even larger here. The colours were treated generously during processing. With the data from above mentioned catalogue emission nebula can be marked as shown in the photo below:


Tarantula Nebula with marked emission nebula

A view enabling high contrast with grayscale colors whith emphasis or filter on hydrogen emission areas is the pure H-alpha channel of the exposure series obtained using a 7nm bandwidth filter:


Tarantula Nebula using H-alpha filter 7nm transmission bandwidth