Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Star Cluster NGC 346 | NASA Chandra & Webb (X-ray & Infrared View)

Star Cluster NGC 346 | NASA Chandra & Webb (X-ray & Infrared View)

NGC 346 is a star cluster in a nearby galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), about 200,000 light-years from Earth. Webb shows plumes and arcs of gas and dust that stars and planets use as source material during their formation. The purple cloud on the left seen with Chandra is the remains of a supernova explosion from a massive star. The Chandra data also reveals young, hot, and massive stars that send powerful winds outward from their surfaces. Additional data from Hubble and Spitzer is included, along with supporting data from XMM-Newton and the European Southern Observatory’s New Technology Telescope. (X-ray: purple and blue; infrared/optical: red, green, blue)

Image Description: Here, thousands of specks of light blanket the blackness of space. A ribbon of thick orange cloud runs along the bottom edge of the image, rounds our lower right corner, and streaks up the right side. A similar patch of roiling orange cloud can be found near our upper left. Between these gas plumes, centered near the top of the image, the star cluster is densely packed with specks of white, blue, and purple light. At our left, a large, bright white, gleaming dot is surrounded by purple mist. This is a hot, young, massive star, sending powerful winds outward from its surface. A patch of smaller dots, other young stars, can be found inside a faint purple mist near the center of the image.

Credit: X-ray: Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO, XMM: ESA/XMM-Newton; IR: JWST: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI, Spitzer: NASA/JPL/CalTech; Optical: Hubble: NASA/ESA/STScI, ESO; Image Processing: L. Frattare, J. Major, and K. Arcand

Release Date: May 23, 2023

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