Image of the Day: The Blazing Beauty of the Small Magellanic Cloud & Beyond


At the remote outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies the young 5-million-year-old star cluster NGC 602, surrounded by natal gas and dust. Fantastic ridges and swept back shapes strongly suggest that energetic radiation and shock waves from NGC 602's massive young stars have eroded the dusty material and triggered a progression of star formation moving away from the cluster's center. At the estimated distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud, the picture spans about 200 light-years, including a cosmic assortment of background galaxies hundreds of millions of light-years or more beyond. 

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA) – ESA/Hubble Collaboration


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