A TRIO OF SPACE TELESCOPES TEAM UP TO VIEW NGC 602 AT ITS BEST!
Photo By: NASA; Hubble, Chandra & Spitzer Space Telescopes (All links & a video below).
Released on April 3, 2013 this incredible composite photo of the open star cluster NGC 602 was released by NASA and it’s a magnificent example of the ability to collaborate using different space telescopes over the spectrum of different wavelengths over the course of an 80 hour exposure. In this case those wavelengths are visible light via the Hubble Space Telescope, infrared light via the Spitzer Space Telescope and X-ray light via the Chandra X-ray Telescope. My next post will be this object in Hubble, optical light only.
The first X-ray emissions outside of our own Milky Way were discovered here in “The Wing” by the Chandra X-ray Telescope, those findings are purple in color. This region is also low in “metals”, that is to say, the area is low on any atoms with more than two protons in the nucleus which means, to make a long story slightly longer, there’s not much of anything here heavier than hydrogen and helium. The Chandra results imply that the young, metal-poor stars in NGC 602a produce X-rays in a manner similar to stars with much higher metal content found in the Orion cluster in our galaxy.
Near the bottom center, around the 8 o’clock position you can see a very distant spiral galaxy. Just to the right of that galaxy you can see a group of newborn stars in infrared (red) at the tip of a triangle shaped pillar. The entire area itself is a cavity blown open and illuminated by the rapid stellar winds as a result of the rate of new star birth within.
NAME: NGC 602, the “Wing”.
WHAT IS IT?: A star forming region of 3 open star clusters (NGC 602a, b & c) and nebulae.
HOW BIG IS IT?: Approximately 160 light years (3 arcminutes) in diameter.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 180,000 light years distant.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE?: N/A
WHERE IS IT? (General): Located in “The Wing” region of one of the satellite galaxies to our Milky Way; The Small Magellanic Cloud Dwarf Galaxy, which is in the southern constellation Tucana.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC (J2000): RA 01h 29m 12.40s | Dec -73° 32′ 01.70″
NASA Chandra page for this image (This site has the most detailed info as well as an interactive photo): http://www.chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2013/ngc602/
ESA Hubble page for this image: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/ngc602/
Spitzer Space Telescope page for this image: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/5569-sig13-002-Taken-Under-the-Wing-of-the-Small-Magellanic-Cloud
NASA Hubblesite News Center: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/17/image/a/
NASA Hubblesite: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/objects-from/pr2013017a/npp/all/
SHORT NASA VIDEO