Hubble Sees Stellar Block Party Rip-Up Neighborhood

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All good parties, no matter how good-natured, will inevitably leave behind some damage — and this also rings true for young stars letting off some steam in a star-forming nebula.

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In this dazzling image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, stunning detail of an open cluster, called Trumpler 14, can be seen. Sparkling bright like diamonds are 2,000 young, massive stars that are pumping out incredible quantities of energy. The cluster is located around 8,000 light-years from Earth.

By cosmic standards, these stars are crazy-young, only 500,000 years old, but many are also very massive. Their mass dictates that the party for this young cluster will be short; quickly burning through their supply of hydrogen fuel and going out with a bang (supernova).

The brightest star in this Hubble observation is HD 93129Aa and holds the record as the hottest star in the Milky Way.

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As the young stars party hard, they produce savagely-powerful stellar winds that slam into the surrounding cloud of dust and gas, generating shock waves and bursts of X-rays. These winds rip through the interstellar medium, carving out vast cavities in the nebula. This also has the effect of compressing gas clouds to spark the formation of more young stars.

These stars may be living fast and dying young, ripping their stellar nursery to shreds, but they also spawn the birth of more stars in their wake.

For more information about this dazzling Hubble observation, and high-resolution images, browse the Hubblesite.org news release.

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