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Taken Under the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud
Taken Under the Wing of the Small Magellanic Cloud

This colorful image presents the star-forming region known as N90 using several types of light. At the heart of the nebula lies the star cluster NGC 602. These newborn stars formed from the dense gas and dust about 5 million years ago. The high-energy radiation blazing out from the hot young stars is now eroding away the gas of the nebula. The inner edge of this material is sculpted into peaks and pillars as some dense regions resist the erosion.

The nebula N90 lives in a broad region known as the "Wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). Along with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the SMC is a small satellite galaxy that orbits around our large Milky Way galaxy. A gravitational interaction between the LMC and SMC galaxies pulled material out of the main part of the SMC to create the Wing region.

This image was made from observations taken by NASA's Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Visible light from Hubble is shown in red, green, and blue. X-rays from Chandra are purple, while Spitzer's infrared light is red. The Chandra observations uncovered the first X-ray emission from sun-like stars outside our galaxy.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC and the University of Potsdam, JPL-Caltech, and STScI