Picture of the Day: The Nebula Formerly Known as a Star

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NASA

This is a nebula we used to think was a star. Located in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, astronomers long called this object 30 Doradus, and labeled it a star. It wasn't until the mid-18th century that Nicholas Louis de Lacaille detected that it was, in fact, a nebula. We now sometimes call it the Tarantula Nebula.

There's no color enhancement or significant doctoring in this image: Unlike many astronomical pictures, everything shown is in the visible light spectrum. The Hubble Space Telescope took the photograph. 

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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