N 57 – The Odd Couple

eso1335aIn 2013 ESO released this beautiful image of N57 in the Large Magellanic Cloud with the title “The Odd Couple”. And an intriguingly odd couple they certainly are as the one is a bubble blown by a single star, the other a superbubble blown by an entire OB association! The smaller shell – N57C – is a rare Wolf-Rayet Bubble, 95 x 95 light years in size, that was blown by the Wolf-Rayet star, Brey 48. The

Read More

N158 – a Celestial Geode

ngc2081-ccI am a keen rock hound, and a geode is among the most beautiful objects one can find. Geodes are the mysterious treasure-boxes of the geological world. Undistinguished plain rock from the outside, they reveal a cavity in the middle filled with beautiful crystals when they are cut or broken open. The rough exterior of a geode gives no indication of the treasures held within its core – its composition is only discovered when it is cracked open.

Read More

N144 – A Starry Superbubble

N144 imageSir Isaac Newton’s famous metaphor for how knowledge progresses, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” is one of the most frequently used quotations in scientific enquiry, alluded to by researchers of all backgrounds who wish to acknowledge their own limitations when faced with the complexity of their subject. Because of the access we have to the discovery, observation, description and cataloguing of every glorious objects we see through our telescopes, I

Read More

N206 – An Elegant Superbubble

NGC 206 DSS colourI can think of few things I enjoy more than peering into the Large Magellanic Cloud’s incredible collection of superbubbles. And I find that subsequent visits are even better as a superbubble appears even more beautiful and fascinating than the memories of it burned into one’s mind. Indeed, once you have been captivated by their mystery and their beauty and the sheer magnitude of what they are, these glorious places demand return trips. And there is always something

Read More

N44 – Quintessential Superbubble

N44

Who could ever tire of astronomy? Here we can sit at our telescopes on a beautiful summer’s night in the southern hemisphere looking at another galaxy and seeing incredibly detailed visual portraits of one of the most dramatic examples of the interaction between massive hot stars and the surrounding interstellar medium… superbubbles! Of the Large Magellanic Cloud’s sixteen superbubbles, dazzling N44 is, to my eye, the quintessential superbubble, and simply stunning at low magnification with its a vast

Read More

N185 – A “remise en bouche” Superbubble

Stellar Effervescence on DisplayThe superbubble N185 bears a marked resemblance to N70 in its images. It has a spherical shape; a diameter between 300 and 365 light years (N70’s diameter is 300 light years); and a similar-looking faint and fragmented ring, and a tapestry of even fainter nebulous tendrils, strands, wisps and smudges.

But whereas one can see a fair amount of detail in the beautiful and delicate N70, all I could see of N185 was the

Read More