Sweeping Wings in a Cloud

ESA/Hub­ble, NASA and D. A Goulier­mis. Acknowl­edge­ment: Flickr user Eedresha Sturdivant

The sweep­ing wings of a dragon or bat shine with the light of dozens of bright stars in this image from the NASA/ESA Hub­ble Space Telescope.

Explore the haze sur­round­ing this young stel­lar group known as NGC 2040, or LH 88. What sto­ries or pic­tures do you see? Leave a note below.

NGC 2040 is a loose star clus­ter. The stars have a com­mon birth­place in this star cloud and will drift through space together. The clus­ter is known by astronomers as an OB asso­ci­a­tion. These groups con­tain 10–100 stars of O and B type stars; among the hottest in the cos­mos. Usu­ally these hot and heavy stars have short but bril­liant lives. After burn­ing out their nuclear fuel in just a few mil­lion years, these stars will prob­a­bly explode as super­novae. The stars lie in a super­giant shell of gas and dust called LMC 4. The shell is cre­ated as whip­ping solar winds from the new stars push gas and dust out­ward. Super­novae explo­sions also blow away sur­round­ing gas and dust trig­ger­ing even more star for­ma­tion. Thou­sands of stars may form at the dense edge of these super bubbles.

NGC 2040 is found about 160,000 light-years away in a dwarf satel­lite galaxy known as the Large Mag­el­lanic Cloud. Although the small galaxy is 100 times smaller than our own Milky Way it is home to some of the largest known star-making areas.

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Lulu 23-08-2012, 19:53

It looks like a hum­ming bird or mock­ing­jay that is fly­ing downwards

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The ancient peo­ples saw pic­tures in the sky. From those pat­terns in the heav­ens, ancient sto­ry­tellers cre­ated leg­ends about heroes, maid­ens, drag­ons, bears, cen­taurs, dogs and myth­i­cal crea­tures…
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