Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 December 24
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

NGC 1850: Gas Clouds and Star Clusters
Credit: FORS Team, 8.2-meter VLT Antu, ESO

Explanation: There's nothing like it in our own Galaxy. Globular clusters as young as NGC 1850 don't exist here. Globular clusters only 40 millions of years old can still be found in the neighboring LMC galaxy, though, but perhaps none so unusual as NGC 1850. Close inspection of the above photograph will reveal two clusters. Below and right of the main group of stars known as NGC 1850A is a smaller, still younger group dubbed NGC 1850B. This cluster is made of stars only about four million years old. The large red cloud of gas surrounding the clusters may have been predominantly created by supernovae explosions of stars in the younger cluster. The red supernova remnant N57D is visible on the upper left.

Tomorrow's picture: An Eclipse Tree

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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