A violent and chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a nearby supernova remnant. Denoted N 63A, the object is the remains of a massive star that exploded, spewing its gaseous layers out into an already turbulent region. This supernova remnant is a member of N 63, a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Visible from the southern hemisphere, LMC is an irregular galaxy lying 160,000 light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy. The LMC provides excellent examples of active star formation and supernova remnants to be studied with Hubble. Supernova remnants have long been thought to set off episodes of star formation when their expanding shock encounters nearby gas. As the Hubble images have illustrated, N 63A is still young and its ruthless shocks have destroyed the ambient gas clouds, rather than coercing them to collapse and form stars.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: Y.-H. Chu and R. M. Williams (UIUC)