'X' marks star-forming spot in Hubble image
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Hubble image of galaxy NGC 6822
(CNN) -- A glowing "X" reveals the location of intense star
formation in a nearby galaxy, Hubble Space Telescope scientists
The glowing gas cloud where the distinctive celestial feature
resides is one of the most active star-forming regions in a
galaxy only 1.6 million light years away, situated in the
The image, released Thursday by the Hubble Heritage team, shows
an almost circular bright cloud that spans about 110 light years.
Its central cluster holds thousands of newly born stars, the
brightest of which are easily visible.
The star formation region is many times more luminous than the
Orion Nebula, the brightest stellar nursery in our vicinity of
the Milky Way galaxy.
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In contrast, the small cloud just below the central one in the
Hubble image is about the same size and brightness as Orion,
according to astronomers.
Stars form in clusters from expansive clouds of gas and dust. The
extremely hot and young stars produce intense ultraviolet
radiation that causes the surrounding residual gas to glow.
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Space Telescope Science Institute
Hubble Heritage Project
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