The SMC is a dwarf galaxy, one of the Milky Way’s closest neighbors, located about 200,000 light-years from Earth, researchers captured part of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) with the Hubble telescope. Portions of the Magellanic Cloud (SMC) form a pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud, are best seen from the Southern Hemisphere, and can also be seen from some northern latitudes.
The Hubble telescope used the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) to take this image, Hubble’s first probe to use the ACS to detect a handful of star clusters in the Small Magellanic Cloud This allowed astronomers to detect low- and high-mass stars in different environments. Astronomers used WFC3 and ACS in a second investigation, and aimed to address fundamental questions about the lives of stars, where, when, why and how stars form.
This image focuses on a portion of the Small Magellanic Cloud, home to hundreds of millions of stars, including NGC 376, a young open cluster of stars discovered on September 2, 1826, by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop. Open clusters, which are sparsely populated, differ from globular clusters, with the stars at their centers appearing as a continuous blur, but in the case of NGC 376, the stars in the most densely populated regions are clearly visible.