Release 553 of 1,084

Hubble Finds Infant Stars in Neighboring Galaxy

Release date: Jan 12, 2005 2:00 PM (EST)
Release type: American Astronomical Society Meeting

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered for the first time a population of embryonic stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy of our Milky Way. Hubble's exquisite sharpness plucked out an underlying population of embryonic stars embedded in the nebula NGC 346 that are still forming from gravitationally collapsing gas clouds. They have not yet ignited their hydrogen fuel to sustain nuclear fusion. The smallest of these infant stars is only half the mass of our Sun.