An immense and intricate group of interconnected nebulae, the Dragon's Head is not part of the Milky Way Galaxy, but lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way some 158,000 light years away. In the sky, it lies in the southern parts of the constellation Dorado.
The brightest part of the nebula consists of a vast star-forming region, hundreds of light years across, within which newly coalescing stars cause the clouds of matter around them to glow in a shimmering range of purples and reds.
From out of this emission nebula, a vast plume of material extends into the space. This strand of matter has been twisted into a distinctive whirlpool shape by an ancient supernova explosion, leaving a dark core in the midst of circular folds of nebulous material. It is this twisting filamentary structure with a distinctive 'eye' at its centre that gives the Dragon's Head its name.