NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 13 January 2023: Young Star Cluster on show | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 13 January 2023: Young Star Cluster on show

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the day is a mesmerizing snapshot of a young star cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jan 13 2023, 16:32 IST
From 721-foot monster to 22-foot dwarf, 5 asteroids to come very close to Earth
NASA star cluster NGC 346
1/5 Asteroid 2022 YS5 - NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has warned that the asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 YS5, will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 13, at a distance of 5.9 million kilometers. It is nearly as big as an aircraft, with a width of 130 feet. Asteroid 2022 YS5 is already hurtling towards the planet at a speed of 21506 kmph.  (Wikimedia Commons)
NASA star cluster NGC 346
2/5 Asteroid 2014 LJ - A relatively small asteroid with a size of 22 feet will fly past Earth by a very close margin tomorrow, January 14. The asteroid, named Asteroid 2014 LJ, will make its closest approach with the planet at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers. The asteroid is travelling towards the planet at a blistering speed of 12515 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
NASA star cluster NGC 346
3/5 Asteroid 2022 YH3 – Another asteroid named 2022 YH3 will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, January 14 at a distance of 7.2 million kilometers. The asteroid, with a width of 290, is travelling at a staggering speed of 58580 kilometers per hour towards the planet. (Pixabay)
NASA star cluster NGC 346
4/5 Asteroid 2012 BV13 - NASA has issued an alert against another asteroid named Asteroid 2012 BV13. This asteroid is particularly concerning due to its monstrous size. According to NASA, it has a size ranging anywhere between 327 feet and 721 feet, making it nearly as big as a football field! It is expected to fly past Earth closely on January 16 at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a speedy 24042 kilometers per hour.  (WikiMedia Commons)
NASA star cluster NGC 346
5/5 Asteroid 2020 BP - NASA has warned that an asteroid named Asteroid 2020 BP is heading for Earth and is expected to pass by the planet closely on January 20. Asteroid 2020 BP is already on its way towards us travelling at a fearsome speed of 60966 kilometers per hour. The asteroid, with a width between 62 feet and 141 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth a distance of just 1.9 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
NASA star cluster NGC 346
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This star cluster has been given the designation of NGC 346 by NASA. (NASA/ESA/CSA)

Group of stars that are close to each other bound together by mutual gravitational attraction are known as star clusters. Stars are formed in star-forming regions called Nebulae. The makeup of a Nebula consists of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. After formation, many stars form groups from the same Nebula, forming a Star Cluster. According to NASA, Star clusters can contain as few as ten stars or as many as millions of stars.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mesmerizing snapshot of a young star cluster embedded in the Small Magellanic Cloud. This star cluster has been given the designation of NGC 346. According to NASA, it is located about 210,000 light-years away. The Small Magellanic Cloud is classified as a dwarf galaxy and is one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way. The image was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope using the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument.

NASA's explanation

The most massive young star cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud is NGC 346, embedded in our small satellite galaxy's largest star forming region some 210,000 light-years distant. Of course, the massive stars of NGC 346 are short lived, but very energetic. Their winds and radiation sculpt the edges of the region's dusty molecular cloud triggering star-formation within. 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.

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This spectacular infrared view of NGC 346 is from the James Webb Space Telescope's NIRcam. Emission from atomic hydrogen ionized by the massive stars' energetic radiation as well as molecular hydrogen and dust in the star-forming molecular cloud is detailed in pink and orange hues. Webb's sharp image of the young star-forming region spans 240 light-years at the distance of the Small Magellanic Cloud.

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First Published Date: 13 Jan, 16:31 IST
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