This image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope depicts the open star cluster NGC 330, which lies around 180,000 light-years away inside the Small Magellanic Cloud. The cluster – which is in the constellation Tucana (the Toucan) – contains a multitude of stars, many of which are scattered across this striking image.

Because star clusters form from a single primordial cloud of gas and dust, all the stars they contain are roughly the same age. This makes them useful natural laboratories for astronomers to learn how stars form and evolve. This image uses observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and incorporates data from two very different astronomical investigations. The first aimed to understand why stars in star clusters appear to evolve differently from stars elsewhere, a peculiarity first observed with Hubble. The second aimed to determine how large stars can be before they become doomed to end their lives in cataclysmic supernova explosions.

Hubble images show us something new about the universe. This image, however, also contains clues about the inner workings of Hubble itself. The crisscross patterns surrounding the stars in this image, known as diffraction spikes, were created when starlight interacted with the four thin vanes supporting Hubble’s secondary mirror.

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Kalirai, A. Milone

这张由NASA/ESA哈勃太空望远镜拍摄的图片描绘了一个开放星团NGC 330,它位于小麦哲伦星云内,距离我们大约18万光年。这个位于杜鹃座的星团包含了大量的恒星,其中很多散落在这张惊人的图片上。



文字来源:欧洲航天局 (ESA)
图片来源:ESA/Hubble & NASA、J. Kalirai、A. Milone

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