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Star Cluster NGC 2074 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

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"The three-dimensional-looking image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head 'pillars of creation,' and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars. . . .

In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the LMC are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.

This representative color image was taken on August 10, 2008, with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulfur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen."

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