Image Credit: NASA, ESA and Josh Lake
NGC 1763 is an emission nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) – a small satellite to our Milky Way – about 163,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Dorado. It is part of the N11 (also known as NGC 1760) star-forming region, the second largest of such in the LMC after 30 Doradus.
N11 is a cocoon shaped nebula that consists of different components. At the center lies a large cavity with a bright blue star cluster, and a trio of oval shaped patches lie at the top with two containing embedded star clusters.
NGC 1763 is the designation for the largest of these three patches. The patch is actually a cavity filled with gas and dust that shows dramatic dark dust filaments. In its center is a bright star cluster with hot, massive stars. Two other star clusters can be seen as well, one to the right and a very small one at eleven o’clock from the central cluster.
To the northwest of the image are several “elephant trunks,” which are very dense dust pillars where young stars are being formed.
This image of NGC 1763 is processed by Josh Lake (USA), winner of the first prize in the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Image Processing Competition 2012, by the jury as well as the public. Josh produced a two-color image to contrast the light from the glowing hydrogen and nitrogen. The image is not in natural colors as hydrogen and nitrogen produce shades of red light that our eyes find difficult to tell apart; Josh’s method of processing separated hydrogen and nitrogen into blue and red.