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Scoping out a stellar nursery

Peering through a veil of dust, a space-based infrared observatory has recorded the most complete portrait ever taken of a star-forming region in a nearby galaxy. The stellar nursery, known as the Tarantula nebula, lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. The nebula is one of the most active star-forming regions among the so-called Local Group of galaxies and is host to some of the most massive stars in the universe. It's been difficult to observe the nebula in its entirety because dust obscures clumps of Tarantula's youngest stars.

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