NASA in collaboration with Michigan Technological University released 20 th February 2023 Astronomy picture of the day to be the captivating Double star cluster NGC 1850 present in the constellation Doredo and galaxy Large Magellanic Cloud which is 168000 light years away from the Earth. The field image was captured by NASA in aegis with the European Space Agency using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Formation of Stars
Trillions of stars in the sky brighten our cosmos. These illuminating objects originated through a giant cloud of dust and gas called Nebula. It is a distinctively luminous component of the interstellar medium, which may also include cosmic dust, neutral or ionized hydrogen, or molecular hydrogen. Nebulae are frequently areas where stars are being formed, as seen in the Eagle Nebula’s ‘Pillars of Creation’. The leftover particles are thought to form other planets or planetary objects.
Astronomy picture of the day is a website by NASA and MTU. The website aims to provide a different image each day featuring the universe alongside a brief explanation by a competent astronomer. Images are occasionally repeated, and the snapshot may not always match to a celestial event on the day it is presented. Yet, there are frequent references to recent developments in astronomy and space travel in the images and explanations. APOD website till date is approximated to have over 1 billion views.
Explanation of the image
The explanation given to this field image begins by stating that nothing in the Milky Way Galaxy compares to the starry globe. The image is also termed ‘reminiscent’ and remarkable for the size and form of Double Star Cluster NGC 1850. It first appears to be similar to the several older globular star clusters that can be seen in the halo of the Milky Way Galaxy. But later confirms that NGC 1850 is a form of star cluster, however, with no known equivalent in the Milky Way since its stars are all too young.
Brief insight to NGC 1850
NGC 1850 was first discovered by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop in 1826. NGC 1850 is an old twin star cluster with a smaller and more compact cluster of stars immediately to the right of the big cluster’s centre. Stars in the compact cluster are even and more recent with an estimated age of about 4 million years, whereas stars in the massive cluster are estimated to be around 50 million years old. NGC 1850 is located close to the edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, about 168,000 light-years away. Similar to the relics of supernovae in our Milky Way galaxy, the luminous gas filaments throughout the left-hand picture attest to powerful stellar explosions and show that short-lived big stars have recently been present in the area.
NGC 1850 divisions
The Hubble Space telescope played a pivotal role in capturing the image yet again proving that it might be on the trajectory of obsolete but that does not prevent this from taking breathtaking images. With a total radius of 16 light years and a tidal radius of 10 light years, the primary cluster is around 100 million years old. It is thought to be 42,000 times as massive as the Sun. The stellar component is divided into two major sequence groups, with around one-fourth of the stars in a bluer (hotter) group and the remainder in a redder (cooler) population. The much younger cluster is termed as 1850A. The first direct dynamical detection of a black hole in this young large cluster was made in November 2021 by astronomers using MUSE on the Very Large Telescope. They did this by observing its impact on the motion of a star nearby.