The Tarantula Nebula

The next object on our list being looked at by Universe Watch is the Tarantula Nebula.  With a magnitude of +5 this nebula is easily visible in the skies south east of sydney.



Tarantula Nebula ( Click to Enlarge)

This is a huge nebula which you will find at the edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is about 170,000 light years away from us and is constantly orbiting around the Milky Way.


An interesting thing to consider is that if the Tarantula Nebula were as close to the Earth as the Orion Nebula is, in other words 1270 light years away, then the Tarantula Nebula would be visible during the day and it would most likely fill up a quarter of our sky. That gives a fairly good idea of how big the Tarantula Nebula is compared to the Orion Nebula. More than a thousand light years across, the Tarantula is 100 times as large as the Orion nebula.

A typical day inside the Tarantula nebula would consist of intense levels of radiation, searing winds, multi-million degree gas, massive stars and exploding supernova.

The searing winds I mentioned are a stream of charged particles originating from a star which are tearing through the nebula at a speed of over 2 million kilometres an hour. Our Sun emits solar wind as well which is sent out through the solar system and reaches out well beyond the orbit of Pluto  where the wind eventually merges with the interstellar gas and dust well beyond Pluto.

~ by sydneystargazers on October 29, 2009.

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