Image credit: NASA, ESA, V. Ksoll and D. Gouliermis (Universität Heidelberg), et al.; Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

Key Takeaways:

  1. N44 is an emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, around 160,000-170,000 light-years away from Earth.
  2. The superbubble structure of N44 is formed by the radiation pressure of 40 blue-white, luminous stars at its core.
  3. N44F, a smaller bubble within N44, houses a massive central star with an extraordinarily powerful stellar wind.
  4. Varying density in N44 creates dust pillars concealing potential star formation.
  5. The presence of x-ray emissions suggests the influence of past supernovae in shaping N44.

N44, a remarkable emission nebula, graces the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, found in the constellation Dorado. This cosmic beauty was first recognized in Karl Henize’s 1956 catalog, where it was identified as a vast structure stretching over 1,000 light-years wide and located at a staggering distance of 160,000-170,000 light-years from Earth. N44 boasts an awe-inspiring superbubble structure shaped by the powerful radiation pressure from a group of 40 luminous, blue-white stars concentrated near its core.

Within N44, another bubble structure named N44F resides, harboring a hot, massive central star that unleashes an extraordinary stellar wind, moving at an astonishing speed of 7 million kilometers per hour. This stellar giant loses a jaw-dropping 1,000,000,000,000,000 tons of material each year—100 million times the rate of the Sun! The N44 nebula exhibits varying density, leading to the formation of intriguing dust pillars concealing potential star formation, likely influenced by past supernovae. The presence of x-ray emissions confirms the historical impact of these cosmic explosions in shaping N44’s captivating splendor.


Image credit: Enhanced Image by Judy Schmidt (CC BY-NC-SA) based on images provided courtesy of NASA/CXC/SAO & NASA/STScI


The image was taken in three very specific colors by the huge 8-meter Gemini South Telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile. Image Credit & Copyright: Gemini Obs., AURA, NSF


The centre of the associated nebular complex N44 in the Large Magellanic Cloud in more detail. The field size is 8.5 x 8.5 square arcminutes. North is up and East is left. Author: ESO


If you look closely along the right of the nebula you can discern the presence of a second bubble. As superbubbles expand and age their surface brightness diminishes. Finally it is thought that superbubbles can trigger new star formation in areas of the shells where gases condense. Credit: SSRO/PROMPT and NOIRLab/NSF/AURA


Credit: Astrodrudis


Credit: ESO



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