Merging clusters in 30 Doradus

This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of a pair of star clusters that are believed to be in the early stages of merging. The clusters lie in the gigantic 30 Doradus Nebula, which is 170,000 light-years from Earth.

Hubble's circumstantial evidence for the impending collision comes from seeing an elongated structure in the cluster at upper left, and from measuring a different age between the two clusters. Also, the unusually large number of high-velocity stars around 30 Doradus can finally be explained if a small cluster has merged into the big cluster R136 in the centre of the Tarantula Nebula.

This nearby example of cluster interaction yields insights into how star clusters may have formed in the early Universe.

The Hubble observations, made with the Wide Field Camera 3, were taken 20-27 October, 2009. The blue colour is light from the hottest, most massive stars; the green from the glow of oxygen; and the red from fluorescing hydrogen.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI)
Acknowledgment: R. O'Connell (University of Virginia) and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo1235b
Type:Observation
Release date:20 August 2012, 17:11
Size:2500 x 2500 px

About the Object

Name:30 Dor, 30 Doradus, 30 Doradus Nebula, Tarantula Nebula
Type:• Local Universe : Nebula : Type : Star Formation
• X - Nebulae Images/Videos
Distance:170000 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
U
336 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
B
438 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
H-alpha
656 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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