NGC 346 or N 66

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Obj Type
Date Taken:
NGC 346
CTIO, Chile

NGC 346 is a rarely imaged star forming nebula 210,000 light years away in Tucana in the SMC.  It is a couple of hundred light years in width and demonstrates a star forming area along intersecting dust lanes.  To see a HST version of this object, click here.

Energetic outflows and radiation from hot young stars are eroding the dense outer portions of the star-forming region, formally known as N66, exposing new stellar nurseries. The diffuse fringes of the nebula prevent the energetic outflows from streaming directly away from the cluster, leaving instead a trail of filaments marking the swirling path of the outflows.

The NGC 346 cluster, at the center of this Hubble image, is resolved into at least three sub-clusters and collectively contains dozens of hot, blue, high-mass stars, more than half of the known high-mass stars in the entire SMC galaxy. A myriad of smaller, compact clusters is also visible throughout the region.

Some of these mini-clusters appear to be embedded in dust and nebulosity, and are sites of recent or ongoing star formation. Much of the starlight from these clusters is reddened by local dust concentrations that are the remnants of the original molecular cloud that collapsed to form N66. - HubbleSite News Center


Technical Details
Exposure Time:
Ha 6 x 20, RGB 6 x 10
Apogee Alta U47
RCOS Carbon Truss 16 inch f/11.3 Ritchey-Chretien
Software Bisque Paramount ME
© 2024 Harvey
Used with permission, No reproduction of these images are permitted without written approval from Harvey.