The image above shows a superbubble in the star-forming region LHA 120-N44 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Massive stars in the cluster NGC 1929 at the centre have vigorous stellar winds and end their short lives as supernovae; their winds and shocks carve out the superbubble of hot gas emitting X-rays shown here in blue, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Yellow colours indicate visible light – from the MPG/ESO 2.2m telescope – from hot young stars, and infrared radiation from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, in red, indicates cooler dust. Combining multiwavelength images in this way highlights X-ray emission from the superbubble walls.
Production of the image coincides with the European Southern Observatory celebrating (in October 2012) 50 years of international collaboration that has made it possible for European astronomers to observe the skies with world-class instruments. The birthday celebrations will include dignitaries from the 15 member states, accompanied by the winner of ESO’s “Tweet your way to the VLT” competition, who gets an all-expenses paid visit to the Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile, for the anniversary. For this competition, people were invited to tweet why they would like to visit the observatory. In addition, on that day the VLT will observe an object from a list posted on the website, the choice made on the basis of a public vote – quite a change from the normal procedure of telescope time allocation for the VLT!
This image is published in the October 2012 issue of Astronomy & Geophysics magazine.