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The Tarantula Nebula [NGC 2070] has an apparent magnitude of 8 which makes it a very luminous non-stellar object, considering that it is 160,000 light-years distant. In fact, it is so luminous that if it were as close to Earth as the Orion Nebula, it would cast shadows!

It is the most active star-producing region in the Local Group of galaxies, with an estimated diametre of 200 parsecs.

The Tarantula Nebula also contains an older star cluster, catalogued as Hodge 301. With an estimated age of 20-25 million years, this cluster’s most massive stars have already exploded in supernovae.

The closest supernova observed since the invention of the telescope, Supernova 1987A, occurred in the outer limits of the Tarantula Nebula.

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Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070