A Stellar Nursery

ngc604_hstlegacy_960Stars are often born in the midst of chaos. Long ago (3 million years) in a galaxy (M33) far away, a large cloud of gas spawned dense internal knots which gravitationally collapsed to form stars. That cloud, known to astronomers as NGC 604, was so large it could form enough stars to make a globular cluster. Young stars from this cloud are visible in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope along with what remains of the initial gas cloud. Some stars that formed from the cloud were so massive they have already evolved and exploded in a supernovae. The remaining bright stars emit light so energetic that they create one of the largest clouds of ionized hydrogen gas known, comparable to the Tarantula Nebula in our Milky Way’s close neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Image Credit: NASA

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