In 2020, Hubble photographed this beautiful nursery to celebrate its 30th birthday. The cosmic star factory NGC 2014 is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

In the star forming region, we encounter several wild stars. The bright lights at the heart of the nebula are ten to twenty times heavier than our sun. These stars are short-lived. Some specimens live no more than a few million years, while our sun lives for ten billion years.

In this satellite image of the week, you can see a small, blue nebula next to NGC 2014. This is NGC 2020. Despite the distance between the two nebulae, both are part of the same star-forming region. This blue nebula was created by at least one giant star 200,000 times more luminous than our Sun that has shed its outer layers. This star is called the Wolf-Rayet star. Wolf-Rayet stars are 20 times more massive than the Sun and are descendants of the most massive stars in the universe. They lose a lot of matter due to strong stellar winds. These stars are very hot and are in the last stages of their lives. The central star in the Blue Nebula has recently lost a lot of matter, and it is fifteen times more massive than the Sun.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is the brightest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way and is located about 163,000 light-years from Earth. Until recently, astronomers believed that the satellite galaxy would continue to orbit the Milky Way for billions of years or perhaps eventually escape the gravitational pull of our own Milky Way. But recent measurements show that the Large Magellanic Cloud contains much more dark matter than previously thought. This means that the satellite galaxy is heading towards the Milky Way. This goes It might happen in a few billion years. “If it devoured the Large Magellanic Cloud, it would wreak havoc on our galaxy as well,” predicts scientist Marius Cawton of Durham University.

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“Our universe is in a state of flux, often due to violent events such as the impending collision of the Large Magellanic Cloud,” researcher Carlos Frink says. “Our descendants – if we escape truly tragic consequences – will be treated to a magnificent cosmic firework.”

Over the past few decades, space telescopes and satellites have taken beautiful pictures of nebulae, galaxies, star nurseries, and planets. Every weekend, we retrieve one or more great space photos from the archives. Enjoy all the pictures? Check them out on this page.