Hubble Space Telescope Captures Dual Views of NGC 1850

by johnsmith

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have taken two amazing images of NGC 1850, a young globular cluster located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

This Hubble image shows the globular cluster NGC 1850, which is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, over 160,000 light-years from Earth. For this image, five filters were used with the camera to gather data. Two of the filters were at near-ultraviolet wavelengths, two more at visible light wavelengths, and the final one was in the near-infrared. The data gathered through the two ultraviolet filters is violet and blue. The data from the two visible light filters is green and orange. The color red denotes near-infrared data. The image follows chromatic order, which means the shortest wavelength in the image is blue while the longest wavelength is red. Chromatic order allows us to visualize wavelengths of light beyond our eye’s sensitivity in a way that is familiar to us. Image credit: NASA / ESA / N. Bastian, Donostia International Physics Center / Gladys Kober, NASA & Catholic University of America.

NGC 1850 is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, just over 160,000 light-years from Earth.

Also known as ESO 56-70 and IRAS 05090-6849, the cluster can be found in the constellation of Dorado.

NGC 1850 has a mass of 63,000 solar masses and a core diameter of 20 light-years.

First discovered in 1826 by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop, it is nearly 100 million years old.

“Typical of globular clusters, it is a spherical collection of densely packed stars held together by mutual gravitational attraction,” Hubble astronomers said in a statement.

“Unlike most globular clusters, however, the stars of NGC 1850 are relatively young.”

“Globular clusters with young stars such as NGC 1850 are not present in our own Milky Way Galaxy,” they added.

“Astrophysicists theorize that when the first generation of stars in NGC 1850 was born, the stars ejected matter like dust and gas into the surrounding cosmos.”

“The density of the newly formed star cluster was so high that this ejected matter could not escape the cluster’s gravitational pull, causing it to stay nearby.”

“The intense gravity of the cluster also pulled in hydrogen and helium gas from its surroundings.”

“These two sources of gas combined to form a second generation of stars, increasing the density and size of this globular cluster.”

For this image of NGC 1850, two filters were used with Hubble’s camera to gather data, one at visible wavelengths the other at near-infrared wavelengths. Following chromatic order, the shorter wavelength visible light data is blue, while the longer near-infrared data is red. Image credit: NASA / ESA / P. Goudfrooij, Space Telescope Science Institute / Gladys Kober, NASA & Catholic University of America.

In 2021, astronomers detected the presence of a stellar-mass black hole in NGC 1850.

Named NGC 1850 BH1, the black hole has a mass of 11 solar masses, and is part of a binary system; its companion is a main-sequence turn-off star with a mass of 4.9 solar masses.

NGC 1850 also hosts N103B (otherwise known as SNR 0509-68.7 or SNR J050854-684447) is a remnant of a Type Ia supernova.

“Astronomers also detected many brighter blue stars that burn hotter and die younger than red stars,” the researchers said.

“Also present are around 200 red giants, stars that have run out of hydrogen in their centers and are fusing hydrogen further from their core, causing the outer layers to expand, cool, and glow red.”

“Surrounding the cluster is a pattern of nebulosity, diffuse dust and gas theorized to come from supernova blasts.”

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