A Star Cluster in Another Galaxy


The clump of stars in the center of the picture is the globular cluster NGC 1898. It’s not in our galaxy. It’s near the middle of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of The Milky Way which contains a rich population of star clusters, making it an ideal laboratory for investigating star formation.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

Speaking of Cosmic Fairies …


fairypillar_hubble_900Tinker Bell is not the only one. Meet the Fairy of the Eagle Nebula. The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating, and, as powerful starlight whittles away these cosmic structures, the pillars that remain remind some observers of mythical beasts. This fairy is ten light years tall and spews radiation. The Eagle Nebula (aka M16) is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust filled with a stellar nursery that is forming an open cluster of stars. This false-color image was released in 2005 as part of the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope. (Click the image to embiggen it.)

Image Credit: NASA

Two Views into the Lagoon


The visible-light Hubble image of the Lagoon Nebula shows a dust-and-gas landscape that is being sculpted by ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from a powerful young star. The star near the center of the image is known as Herschel 36. It’s about 200,000 times brighter than our Sun, 32 times more massive, and eight times hotter. Herschel 36 iis a baby star, only 1 million years old.

The star-filled image at right, taken by Hubble in near-infrared light, is a very different view of the nebula. Infrared light can penetrate clouds of gas and dust. The most obvious difference thes infrared and visible photos of this region is the abundance of stars that show up in the infrared field of view. Most of them are more distant, background stars located behind the nebula, but some are young stars within the Lagoon Nebula. The giant star Herschel 36 appears even brighter in infrared.

Image Credit: NASA

The Tadpole Galaxy


Tadpole Arp 188The Tadpole Galaxy is a disrupted barred spiral galaxy 420 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Draco. Its most dramatic features is a trail of stars about 280,000 light-years long and massive, bright blue star clusters. Like a tadpole here on Earth, the galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older—the tail’s stars will probably form smaller satellite galaxies of the larger spiral.

Image Credit: NASA

M92


Messier 92 is one of the brightest globular clusters in the northern sky, but it is often overlooked by amateur astronomers because of its proximity to the even more spectacular Messier 13. It is visible to the naked eye under very good seeing conditions. Indeed, M92 is among the brightest clusters in terms of absolute magnitude as well as being one of the oldest clusters in the Milky Way.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA