Posts Tagged ‘NGC 2060’

Many Faces in Doradus

NASA, ESA, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn (STScI), N. Bastian (Excellence Cluster, Munich), L. Bedin (INAF, Padua), E. Bressert (ESO), P. Crowther (University of Sheffield), A. de Koter (University of Amsterdam), C. Evans (UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh), A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer (AifA, Bonn), I. Platais (JHU), and H. Sana (University of Amsterdam)

Many faces hide around the star cluster NGC 2060 in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Explore the loose collection of stars and nebula. What stories or pictures do you see? Leave a note in the comments below.

The star cluster NGC 2060 is a family of stars that are drifting apart. These stellar siblings were born from the same star cloud but now they are no longer gravitationally bound. Within a few million years the grouping will cease to be as all the stars will have dispersed. The nebula is full of little gems besides young stars. Look just left of center in the image. A supernova, created when a massive hot star ended its short life after burning all of its nuclear fuel, exploded blowing a bubble within the cloud about 10,000 years ago. The dark area near the center of the image is a dense cloud of cold dust between Earth and the cloud. Other smaller dark globs of dust blot out the starlight from behind. Fierce stellar winds and blistering ultraviolet radiation from the young stars in this nebula push the glowing gas and dust into arcs and pillars

NGC 2060 is part of 30 Doradus, the brightest star-forming region that we know about 170,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The LMC is a dwarf galaxy near our Milky Way Galaxy. The massive nebula is home to some of the most massive stars in our cosmic neighborhood. It is so bright and close, that Hubble can see individual stars offering scientists information on how stars are born, evolve and die.

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A Glittering Panorama


The legs of a spider shine in the light of several million stars in this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of 30 Doradus and the Tarantula Nebula.

This image offers loads for the imag­i­na­tion. What sto­ries and pic­tures do you see float­ing in this neb­u­lar cloud? Leave a note in the comments below.

The Taran­tula Neb­ula is a vast star-forming fac­tory; one of the largest that we know. In earth­bound tele­scopes, the sprawl­ing clouds of gas and dust resem­bled the legs of a spi­der, giv­ing the neb­ula its name. Explore the dark clouds, glow­ing gas, new stars and churned dust that make up the neb­ula. Recent super­novae, includ­ing NGC 2060 just left of cen­ter in the image, have sent ten­drils of dust rolling through the neb­ula. NGC 2060 con­tains the bright­est known pul­sar. A pul­sar is a rapidly spin­ning neu­tron star, the super-dense core of the star left after the colos­sal super­nova explo­sion scat­tered the bulk of the star into space. The churn­ing stirs up the neb­ula, cre­at­ing dense pock­ets of gas and dust that may one day glow as new stars. The colors in the cloud come from glowing gases. Hydrogen gas glows red. Oxygen glows blue.

The image, released to celebrate Hubble‘s 22nd anniversary, is one of the largest mosaics assembled from Hubble images. Because the nebula is close to Earth, Hubble can make out individual stars. This detail gives astronomers important information about star birth, evolution and death. Look close in the image and you can see baby stars still wrapped in their dark cocoons to giant stars that will explode in cataclysmic supernovae within just a few million years. In between, look for sparkling star clusters.

New stars shine through­out the image. The nebula’s rich sup­ply of hydro­gen fuels the cre­ation of these new stars. Their blis­ter­ing ultra­vi­o­let light causes the neb­ula to glow in red light. Much of the radi­a­tion that lights up the neb­ula comes from the densely packed group of stars called RMC 136. The cluster is part of a larger group of stars known as NGC 2070. This young star cluster contains about 500,000 stars.

The Taran­tula Neb­ula lies about 170,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Mag­el­lanic Cloud toward the constellation Doradus. The LMC is a com­pan­ion galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy which is home to the Sun and the bright stars we see in the sky and is right in our galaxy’s backyard.

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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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