In a nearby galaxy called the Small Magellanic Cloud, young stars are spewing radiation that’s eating away at the cloud of gas and dust that gave birth to them not too long ago.
The cluster of blue stars, called NGC 602, formed when a large part of the gas cloud collapsed under gravity and became very dense. The fierce radiation now being produced by these hot, young stars is sculpting the inner rim of the gaseous nebula. Parts of the nebula resist this erosion better than others, leaving tall pillars that point toward the source of the radiation — the stars.
Publication: January 8, 2007