Press Release

Hubble Spots Hot, Young Star Cluster in Neighbor Galaxy

By SpaceRef Editor
July 10, 2001
Filed under , ,

By spying on a neighboring galaxy, NASA’s Hubble Space
Telescope has captured an image of a young, globular-like star
cluster — a type of object unknown in our Milky Way Galaxy.

The image, taken by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary
Camera 2, is online at and . The camera was designed
and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,

The double cluster NGC 1850 lies in a neighboring
satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. It has two
relatively young components. The main, globular-like cluster
is in the center. A smaller cluster is seen below and to the
right, composed of extremely hot, blue stars and fainter red
T-Tauri stars. The main cluster is about 50 million years old;
the smaller one is 4 million years old.

A filigree pattern of diffuse gas surrounds NGC 1850.
Scientists believe the pattern formed millions of years ago
when massive stars in the main cluster exploded as supernovas.

Hubble can observe a range of star types in NGC 1850,
including the faint, low-mass T-Tauri stars, which are
difficult to distinguish with ground-based telescopes.
Hubble’s fine angular resolution can pick out these stars,
even in other galaxies. Massive stars of the OB type emit
large amounts of energetic ultraviolet radiation, which is
absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere. From Hubble’s position
above the atmosphere, it can detect this ultraviolet light.

NGC 1850, the brightest star cluster in the Large
Magellanic Cloud, is in the southern constellation of Dorado,
called the Goldfish or the Swordfish. This image was created
from five archival exposures taken by the Wide Field Planetary
Camera 2 between April 3, 1994 and February 6, 1996. More
information about the Hubble Space Telescope is online at . More information about the Wide Field
and Planetary Camera 2 is at .

The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.,
manages space operations for Hubble for NASA’s Office of Space
Science, Washington, D.C. The Institute is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.,
for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, Md. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of
international cooperation between NASA and the European Space
Agency. JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.

SpaceRef staff editor.