July 18, 2024
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Star formation region LH 72 | Earth Blog

Star formation region LH 72

In one of the largest known star-forming regions in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, bright young stellar clusters known as OB associations are found. One of these associations, called LH 72, was captured in this spectacular image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It consists of a few young, high-mass stars embedded in a beautiful, dense nebula of hydrogen gas.

Much of the star formation in the LMC occurs in supergiant shells. These regions of interstellar gas are thought to have formed due to strong stellar winds and supernova explosions that removed much of the material around the stars creating windblown layers. The entrained gas eventually cools and fragments into smaller clouds that dot the edges of these regions and eventually collapse to form new stars.

The largest of these shells, which houses the LH 72, is designated LMC4. With a diameter of about 6,000 light years, it is the largest of the local group of galaxies that houses both the Milky Way and the LMC. Studying associations of young stars embedded in gas like LH 72 is one way to probe supergiant shells to understand how they formed and evolved.

This image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 using five different filters in ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. The field of view is approximately 1.8 by 1.8 arcminutes.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA and DA Gouliermis
Explanation from: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1147a/

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