New Delhi: The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has returned thousands of stunning images of stars, planets and galaxies at it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.
Astronomers said while it may be famous for hosting spectacular sights such as the Tucana Dwarf Galaxy and 47 Tucanae (heic1510) - the second brightest globular cluster in the night sky - the southern constellation of Tucana (The Toucan) also possesses a variety of unsung cosmic beauties.
Hubble captured one such beauty of NGC 299, an open star cluster located within the Small Magellanic Cloud just under 200,000 light-years away.
“Open clusters such as this are collections of stars weakly bound by the shackles of gravity, all of which formed from the same massive molecular cloud of gas and dust,” NASA wrote on its official website.
“This unique property not only ensures a spectacular sight when viewed through a sophisticated instrument attached to a telescope such as Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, but gives astronomers a cosmic laboratory in which to study the formation and evolution of stars - a process that is thought to depend strongly on a star’s mass,” it added.
Hubble, which is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts, was launched April 24, 1990, on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.