Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
July 27, 1998
Explanation: A very young star cluster has been discovered in a neighbouring galaxy. The stars found in this cluster, dubbed N81, are so young and massive that they furiously eject matter and light up the surrounding nebula. The ejected stellar winds combine and interact to sculpt beautiful and complex structures. Visible near the centre of the above representative-colour picture are two of N81's brightest stars. Just above them lies a dark knot of dust and gas where these massive stars probably originated. The home galaxy of this stellar nursery is the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) located about 200,000 light-years away.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.