Celestial Fireworks! Like a Fourth of July fireworks display, this glittering collection of stars located 20,000 light-years away from Earth looks like a red, white & blue aerial burst.
Spotted in 2009 by our @NASAHubble Space Telescope as colorful and serene sight, this environment is anything but that! Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the gas and dust enveloping the cluster of huge, hot stars. Most of the stars in the cluster were born around the same time but differ in size, mass, temperature and color.
The course of a star's life is determined by its mass, so a cluster of a given age will contain stars in various stages of their lives, giving an opportunity for detailed analyses of stellar life cycles. The cluster seen here contains some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, burning through their hydrogen fuel quickly and ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions.
Star clusters provide astronomers with important clues to understand the origin of massive star formation in the early, distant universe.
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