A dazzling new image from the Hubble Space Telescope captures a stunning view of a nearby open cluster of stars that is slowly dissolving into the dwarf galaxy around it.
Shows part of the photo small magellanic clouda dwarf galaxy of Galaxy It has a smaller companion just 200,000 light-years from Earth and a slightly closer large magellanic cloud, also a neighboring dwarf galaxy. Its proximity allows us to see it in such great detail that the Hubble Space Telescope can see relatively small clusters of stars with remarkable clarity.
new hubble photo, released in December 2022 by NASA and the European Space Agency, shows only a small part of the Small Magellanic Cloud – an open cluster designated NGC 376. allowing us to identify individual stars even in the densest areas of it. Globular clusters, in contrast, are so dense that Stars may be within a light-year of each other and light from stars in their central regions mix together.
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Although there are hundreds of millions of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, NGC 376 only has about 3,400 solar mass, so it is significantly less massive than the Small Magellanic Cloud. Located in the southern sky constellation Tucana, NGC 376 was first discovered by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop in 1826.
According to a 2011 study in The Astrophysical Journal, NGC 376 has lost about 90% of its original stellar mass and is in the process of dissolving into the massive Small Magellanic Cloud. It is not clear when this will happen, but the slow loss of star-forming gas and the gravitational pull from the rest of the Small Magellanic Cloud make the process inevitable.
The Hubble image was produced using data from two probes – one using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the other employing both the ACS and Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
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