Star Clusters on a Collision Courseâ€¨â€¨
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently observed two clusters full of massive stars that appear to be in the early stages of merging. â€¨â€¨The clusters are located some 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way.
What at first was thought to be only one cluster in the core of the massive star-forming region 30 Doradus (also known as the Tarantula Nebula) has been found to be a composite of two clusters that differ in age by about one million years. The 30 Doradus Nebula is particularly interesting to astronomers because it is a prime example of how star-forming regions in the young universe may have looked. This discovery could go a long way in helping scientists understand the details of cluster formation and how stars formed in the early universe.