Image: Where stars are born

Oct 18, 2010
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Nota (ESA/STScI) et al.

Found among the Small Magellanic Cloud's clusters and nebulae NGC 346 is a star-forming region about 200 light-years across, pictured above by the Hubble Space Telescope.

A satellite galaxy of the , the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a wonder of the southern sky, a mere 210,000 light-years distant in the constellation of the Toucan. Exploring NGC 346, astronomers have identified a population of embryonic stars strung along the dark, intersecting dust lanes visible here on the right. Still collapsing within their natal clouds, the stellar infants' light is reddened by the intervening dust.

A small, irregular galaxy, the SMC represents a type of galaxy more common in the early Universe. But these small are thought to be a building blocks for the larger galaxies present today. Within the SMC, stellar nurseries like NGC 346 also are thought to be similar to those found in the .

This image, like many Hubble images, has a curious stair-step shape. These images come from a scientific instrument called the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2 -- which was removed from the telescope in mid-2009. It is WFPC2’s unique design that underlies the oddly-shaped images in Hubble’s portfolio.

Explore further: Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

More information: For more information on how the WFPC2 constructed images, visit the Hubble site.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hubble finds infant stars in neighbouring galaxy

Jan 13, 2005

Hubble astronomers have uncovered, for the first time, a population of infant stars in the Milky Way satellite galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC, visible to the naked eye in the southern constellation Tucana), located 210,000 light-years away. ...

Stars forced to relocate near the Southern Fish

Mar 03, 2009

About 100 million light-years away, in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus (the Southern Fish), three galaxies are playing a game of gravitational give-and-take that might ultimately lead to their merger ...

Hubble Observes Infant Stars in Nearby Galaxy

Jan 08, 2007

This new image taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope depicts bright, blue, newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the center of a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Hubble Snaps Images of a Pinwheel-Shaped Galaxy

Feb 07, 2006

Looking like a child's pinwheel ready to be set a spinning by a gentle breeze, this dramatic spiral galaxy is one of the latest viewed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Stunning details of the face-on spiral ...

Recommended for you

Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

18 hours ago

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released ...

New window on the early Universe

Oct 22, 2014

Scientists at the Universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2010
Stars are reformed on the collapsed cores of precursor stars, just like the birth of the Sun.

Scientific Genesis: 1. Origin of the Solar System
www.youtube.com/w...e_Qk-q7M

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel