Named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) makes an alluring spectacle on the dark, cold, space. This telescopic was ten months in the making, by the way. Looks like something taken out of a fantasy film, doesn’t it?
Spanning over 5 degrees or 10 full moons, the 4x4 panel mosaic was constructed from 3900 frames with a total of 1,060 hours of exposure time in both broadband and narrowband filters. The narrowband filters are designed to transmit only light emitted by sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Ionized by energetic starlight, the atoms emit their characteristic light as electrons are recaptured and the atoms transition to a lower energy state. As a result, in this image the LMC seems covered with its own clouds of ionized gas surrounding its massive, young stars.
(Image Credit: Team Ciel Austral)