Star Clusters on a Collision Course
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently observed two clusters full of massive stars that appear to be in the early stages of merging. The clusters are located some 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way.
What at first was thought to be only one cluster in the core of the massive star-forming region 30 Doradus (also known as the Tarantula Nebula) has been found to be a composite of two clusters that differ in age by about one million years. The 30 Doradus Nebula is particularly interesting to astronomers because it is a prime example of how star-forming regions in the young universe may have looked. This discovery could go a long way in helping scientists understand the details of cluster formation and how stars formed in the early universe.