"The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean... Recently, we've managed to wade a little way out, and the water seems inviting." - Carl Sagan
The Seahorse of the Large Magellanic Cloud
It may look like a grazing seahorse, but the dark object toward the image right is actually a pillar of smoky dust about 20 light years long. The curiously-shaped dust structure occurs in our neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud, in a star forming region very near the expansive Tarantula Nebula. The energetic nebula is creating a star cluster, NGC 2074, whose center is visible just off the top of the image in the direction of the neck of the seahorse. As young stars in the cluster form, their light and winds will slowly erode the dust pillars away over the next million years.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio (STScI)