Open cluster KMHK 1231 is an impressive group of stars that are loosely bound together by gravity, and is seen in the upper right of this Hubble Space Telescope image. It is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and is surrounded by a stunning crimson nebula of gas and dust that extends across the image, where new stars may potentially form in the future. The orange and red hues in this image indicate visible and near-infrared light, respectively, which give it a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Open clusters are stellar populations formed from the same gas and dust cloud and are common in spiral and irregular galaxies where star formation is actively taking place. Their stars tend to share similarities like age, composition, and motion, making them excellent laboratories for studying star formation and evolution. After a few million years, these clusters disperse into their galaxies.
The Hubble Telescope observed one such cluster as part of a research project to understand the amount of ultraviolet light absorbed by the material located between Earth and the Large Magellanic Cloud. This data is key for determining the characteristics of objects in this satellite galaxy to the Milky Way.