NGC 346 is a nebula where stars are born. The nebula NGC 346 is a region of star formation about 200 light years in diameter.
The Hubble Space Telescope has found the star clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.
The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC or Small Magellanic Cloud) is one of the wonders of the southern sky, is located 210 000 light years away in the constellation Toucan.
Exploring NGC 346, astronomers have identified a population of embryonic stars emerging, spreading along the dark bands of dust visible here on the right of the image.
Clouds of red dust behind stellar infants. The irregular galaxy of the Small Magellanic Cloud, known as CMS, is a very common type of galaxy in the early Universe. These small irregular galaxies are considered building blocks of galaxies present today.
Nurseries of stars, like NGC 346 are similar to those that could be found in the early universe.
This image is from a scientific instrument called 'Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2.
Image: The nebula NGC 346 was taken by the Hubble Telescope in mid-2009 by the WFPC2 camera. nota: the Hubble Space Telescope (Hubble Space Telescope or HST) is a telescope in orbit at 560 kilometers altitude, it makes a full rotation of the Earth every 100 minutes.
Credit: A. Nota (ESA/STScI) et al., ESA, NASA
The launch, conducted April 25, 1990 by Space Shuttle is the fruit of a joint project between NASA and ESA. This telescope has an optical resolution better than 0.1 arcsec.
It is scheduled for replacement in 2013 by the James Webb Space Telescope. Hubble weighs about 11 tons, is 13.2 meters long, has a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and cost $ 2 billion U.S. dollars.
It is a reflector telescope with two mirrors, the main mirror has a diameter of about 2.4 meters. It is coupled to various spectrometers and 3 cameras: a narrow field for faint objects, a wide field for planetary images (WFPC2) and one for infrared.