The Sextant and its Two Superbubbles

N51_compositeLocated in the north eastern region of the Large Magellanic Cloud, just off the south eastern corner of the stupendous LMC-4 supergiant shell, lies a striking object of exquisite beauty… N51. Formally known as LHA 120-N 51, this star-forming complex got its name in 1956 when Karl Henize catalogued it in his Catalogue of H-alpha emission stars and nebulae in the Magellanic Clouds, and subdivided it into five (A-E) nebular components

However, this very beautiful and intriguing

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N70 – Ethereal Superbubble

N70 Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud

When one has a horde of incredibly bright and detailed superbubbles in the Large Magellanic Cloud to feast one’s eyes on, the faint and delicate amorphous glow of N70 is a very rewarding sight in the telescope. Superbubbles are some of the most dramatic examples of the interaction between massive stars and the surrounding interstellar medium – and like its more showy superbubble counterparts, N70 is driven by the raging stellar winds and subsequent supernova shock waves from its

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N186 – Threadbare Superbubble

A superbubble located in the Large Magellanic Cloud about 160,000 light years from Earth.One may be forgiven when observing N186 for logging it as a not-altogether sensational view… merely a small and serene scene consisting of a very small cluster (NGC 1791/SL 155), an even smaller association of stars (BSDL 384) and a few very faint wisps of nebulosity, all set against a beautiful backdrop rich in stars.

But in reality this is far from a serene scene… it’s a superbubble maelstrom where the ferocious winds and supernova shock waves of

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N11 – Magnificent Superbubble

Hubble N11N11 is indisputably the most spectacular superbubble in the Large Magellanic Cloud. At around 1,000 light-years in diameter, it ranks as the second largest star-forming region in the Cloud, behind 30 Doradus on the other side of the galaxy. Formally known as LHA 120-N11, this majestic complex got its name in 1956 when Karl Henize catalogued it in his Catalogue of H-alpha emission stars and nebulae in the Magellanic Clouds. It is also part of Harlow Shapley’s Constellation VI, one

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Ptolemy’s Milky Way

15th Apr 2018

PtolemyLittle to me is more intoxicating than lying on my back on a moonless night in the Kalahari, gazing naked eye into the Milky Way – in this unadulterated dark sky it is a dazzling river of starlight arching across the sky, so brilliant the land seems to be showered with a dew of falling starlight. Claudius Ptolemy captured this intoxication of visual observing with his epigram with which his famous Almagest begins in some translations, “I know that I

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A Wolf-Rayet Bubble in the Carina Nebula

13th Mar 2018

ngc3372The Carina Nebula is, to my eye, the supreme nebula in our skies… it is preposterously beautiful… a billowing three-dimensional cloudscape, its raggedy outer edges building up out of the surrounding sky, all those obscure dust clouds, the astonishing radiance of the central masses bifurcated by the colossal forked dust lane, that gorgeous scattered cluster Collinder 228, rich little Trumpler 16 which contains Eta Carinae, the mysterious little smudge of the Keyhole Nebula, and that stunning region on the

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