In this image from 2014, brightly glowing plumes of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) appear almost like an ocean current with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings.
This image shows part of the Tarantula Nebula’s outskirts located within the LMC, a small nearby galaxy that orbits the Milky Way and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The Hubble Space Telescope has peeked many times into this galaxy, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars.

In most images of the LMC the color is completely different to that seen here. For this image, researchers substituted the customary R filter, which selects the red light, and replaced it by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.

This data is part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1,000 images taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments. Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA: acknowledgement: Josh Barrington Larger image