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NGC 346 (Open Cluster)


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NGC 346
Open Cluster (散開星団)
OC EN+OCL

別名 (Other names)
ESO 51-SC10 largest EN in SMC

距離 (Distance)
210,000光年 (210,000 light-years)

星座 (Constellation)
きょしちょう座 (Tuc) (Tucana)

NGC 346 is an open cluster located 210,000 light years from the Earth in the constellation Tucana.

NGC 346 (Open Cluster) : Picture

NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud
NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud
(C) A. Nota (ESA/STScI) et al., ESA, NASA
How and why are all these stars forming? Found among the Small Magellanic Cloud's (SMC's) clusters and nebulae NGC 346 is a star forming region about 200 light-years across, pictured above by the Hubble Space Telescope. A satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a wonder of the southern sky, a mere 210,000 light-years distant in the constellation of the Toucan (Tucana). Exploring NGC 346, astronomers have identified a population of embryonic stars strung along the dark, intersecting dust lanes visible here on the right. Still collapsing within their natal clouds, the stellar infants' light is reddened by the intervening dust. A small, irregular galaxy, the SMC itself represents a type of galaxy more common in the early Universe. But these small galaxies are thought to be a building blocks for the larger galaxies present today. Within the SMC, stellar nurseries like NGC 346 are also thought to be similar to those found in the early Universe.

Young Stars of NGC 346
Young Stars of NGC 346
(C) Antonella Nota (ESA/STScI) et al., ESA, NASA
The massive stars of NGC 346 are short lived, but very energetic. The star cluster is embedded in the largest star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, some 210,000 light-years distant. Their winds and radiation sweep out an interstellar cavern in the gas and dust cloud about 200 light-years across, triggering star formation and sculpting the region's dense inner edge. Cataloged as N66, the star forming region also appears to contain a large population of infant stars. A mere 3 to 5 million years old and not yet burning hydrogen in their cores,the infant stars are strewn about the embedded star cluster. In the above false-color Hubble Space Telescope image, visible and near-infrared light are seen as blue and green, while light from atomic hydrogen emission is red.

Star-forming region NGC 346
Star-forming region NGC 346
(C) ESO

Around NGC 346
Around NGC 346
(C) ESO

NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud NGC 346
NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud
(C) NASA/ESA
Around NGC 346
(C) ESO
NGC 346 NGC 346
Young Stars of NGC 346
(C) NASA/ESA
Star-forming region NGC 346
(C) ESO
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