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Taken Under the "Wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud
Sig13 002

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Observation • April 3rd, 2013 • sig13-002


New Chandra observations have been used to make the first detection of X-ray emission from young stars with masses similar to our Sun outside our Milky Way galaxy. The Chandra observations of these low-mass stars were made of the region known as the "Wing" of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), one of the Milky Way's closest galactic neighbors. In this composite image of the Wing the Chandra data is shown in purple, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope is shown in red, green and blue and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope is shown in red. Astronomers call all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium - that is, with more than two protons in the atom's nucleus - "metals". The Wing is a region known to have fewer metals compared to most areas within the Milky Way. 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.

About the Object

NGC 602
Star > Grouping > Cluster
Nebula > Type > Star Formation
180,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
X-ray 1.5 keV Chandra ACIS
Optical 555 nm Hubble ACS/WFC
Optical 814 nm Hubble ACS/WFC
Optical 658 nm Hubble ACS/WFC
Infrared 8.0 ┬Ám Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =1h 29m 27.4s
Dec = -73° 33' 27.9"
Field of View
2.8 x 2.8 arcminutes
North is 90.0° left of vertical