The brightly glowing plumes seen in this image are reminiscent of an underwater scene, with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings. However, this is no ocean. This image actually shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has peeked many times into this galaxy, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars (opo9944a, heic1301, potw1408a). This image shows part of the Tarantula Nebula's outskirts. This famously beautiful nebula, located within the LMC, is a frequent target for Hubble (heic1206, heic1402).  In most images of the LMC the colour is completely different to that seen here. This is because, in this new image, a different set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which selects the red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters. This data is part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1000 images taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments. Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.

Talking Space: The Universe for Beginners

**SOLD OUT** Wednesday 12 April 2017, 6–8pm Sydney Observatory Book Tickets

The night sky might seem to be a random collection of odd objects: stars, planets, asteroids, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, supernovae remnants, pulsars and galaxies. Are they just a menagerie, or can we make sense of them? Join Luke Barnes, author of the recently published A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (Cambridge University Press) as he shows how a single question links the night sky’s occupants into a coherent scheme.

Luke A. Barnes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University of Sydney. His book with Geraint Lewis, A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos, was recently published by Cambridge University Press. He has published papers in the field of galaxy formation and on the fine-tuning of the universe for life. He has been invited to speak at the 2011 and 2015 St Thomas Summer Seminars in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, the University of California Summer School for the Philosophy of Cosmology, and numerous public lectures.

Talking Space is a monthly series of talks organised by Sydney Observatory. To keep up to date with upcoming talks, subscribe to Sydney Observatory’s newsletter here.

Please be advised that from February 2017, Sydney Observatory’s paths and gardens will be undergoing some renovations to improve access to Sydney’s oldest observatory. During these works the Observatory will remain open day and night and Adult Astronomy courses will operate as normal. There may be a small impact on our other programs, events and tours but we aim to complete this project as quickly as possible and thank you for your understanding. Please contact us on or (02) 9217 0111 if you would like more information.


**SOLD OUT** Adult: $20 Concession: $18 Child: $16 MAAS Members Adult: $16 Concession: $14 Back to top of page

Plan Your Experience

All the information you need to plan your visit is available on the Sydney Observatory venue page, including:

Back to top of page