NGC 602 is a young, bright open cluster of stars located in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. It is embedded in a nebula known as N90.

Radiation and shock waves from the stars of NGC 602 have pushed away much of the lighter surrounding gas and dust that is N90, and this in turn has triggered new star formation in the ridges (or "elephant trunks") of the nebula. The cluster is of particular interest because it is located in the wing of the SMC leading to the Magellanic Bridge. Hence, while its chemical properties should be similar to those of the rest of the galaxy, it is relatively isolated and so easier to study.

NGC 602 includes many young O and B stars and young stellar objects, with few evolved stars. Ionisation in the nebula is dominated by Sk 183, an extremely hot O3 main sequence star visible as the bright isolated star at the centre of the image.

This image was created from 3 subframes of different wavelengths from the UVIS channel of the Hubble ACS Camera.

The data was mapped to the 3 visual channels (Red/Green/Blue) to maximise the detail inside this amazing object.

Image produced from raw data downloaded from MAST: the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes

Original image by ESA/Hubble, alignment, integration and colour mapping by Arc Fortnight.


3615 x 3289px


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