Follow this link to go to the text only version of nasa.gov
NASA -National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Follow this link to skip to the main content
+ Text Only Site
+ Site Help & Preferences
Go
ABOUT NASALATEST NEWSMULTIMEDIAMISSIONSMyNASAWORK FOR NASA

+ Home
HUBBLE
HUBBLE MAIN
HUBBLE SCIENCE
THE HUBBLE STORY
SERVICING MISSIONS
MULTIMEDIA
SPACECRAFT AND INSTRUMENTS
TEAM
NEWS AND MEDIA RESOURCES
+ NASA Home > Mission Sections > Hubble > News
Print ThisPrint This
Email ThisEmail This

MISSION NEWS
Star Cluster Bursts Into Life in New Hubble Image

10.02.07

This latest image from NASAs Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas.

Thousands of sparkling young stars are nestled within the giant nebula NGC 3603. This stellar "jewel box" is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Image right: This latest image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Project.
+ View larger image


NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way, about 20,000 light-years away. This latest image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas.

The image reveals stages in the life cycle of stars.

Powerful ultraviolet radiation and fast winds from the bluest and hottest stars have blown a big bubble around the cluster. Moving into the surrounding nebula, this torrent of radiation sculpted the tall, dark stalks of dense gas, which are embedded in the walls of the nebula. These gaseous monoliths are a few light-years tall and point to the central cluster. The stalks may be incubators for new stars.

On a smaller scale, a cluster of dark clouds called "Bok" globules resides at the top, right corner. These clouds are composed of dense dust and gas and are about 10 to 50 times more massive than the Sun. Resembling an insect's cocoon, a Bok globule may be undergoing a gravitational collapse on its way to forming new stars.

The nebula was first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834. The image spans roughly 17 light-years and was taken Dec. 29, 2005 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Project

Images and additional information about NGC 3603 are available at http://hubblesite.org/news/2007/34.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. The Space Telescope Science Institute conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington.


Donna Weaver/Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.

+ Back to Top



+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories
+ USA.gov
+ ExpectMore.gov
NASA
Editor: Jason Townsend
NASA Official: Brian Dunbar
Last Updated: October 4, 2007
+ Contact NASA
+ SiteMap