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Stars and stellar evolution
Star Cluster Westerlund 2

Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

This image shows a rich star-forming region containing clusters of newly formed stars.

Facts of interest about the image

This image was taken to celebrate 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope's exploration of the heavens.


This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the nebula in which the star cluster Westerlund 2 was born. Hubble captured an image of this compact star cluster before the stars had time to migrate away from each other, as open clusters tend to do. The nebula contains tell-tale signs of continuing star formation, heralded by the many pillars embedded in the nebula that resist the erosion of the ultraviolet light and stellar winds produced by the large bright stars at the center.

11-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion.
How to use in the classroom

Teachers can use this lithograph as:

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the images on the lithograph. Ask them to write down any questions they have about the images. When the students are finished, their questions can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the text on the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Have students exchange papers so that each student has someone else's questions. Then have them find the answers to the other students' questions by reading the text on the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Gather the questions into a list by asking students to volunteer to read their questions while you or another student records them. Ask students to raise their hands if they have the same or a similar question. Count the number of hands raised and record this number next to the question. Once all the students' questions have been added to the list, have students search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they complete that task, ask them to decide whether each of their questions was answered completely, answered partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of the questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those that were partially answered, and an "N" for those that were not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions were also answered completely. Encourage students to do further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the text on the lithograph and then write a quiz for the class.

Related materials