NGC 602 is an open cluster located in the Small Magellanic Cloud which is a small satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way galaxy. The cluster NGC 602 is embedded within the surrounding nebula N90 and the intense radiation of NGC 602’s larger members is eroding away the dust and gas of N90 and is forming the distinctive “elephant trunk” features. Astronomers believe that the dense “elephant trunks” are areas of active star formation. The bright star Sk 183, seen at near the center of this image, is the main ionizing source for the nebula.
NGC 602 and N90 are 196,000 light years distant.
This is a mapped color image created by combining filtered image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive. The data used was from the F814W(I), F658N(h-alpha + NII) and F555W(V) from the Hubble ACS/WFC instrument package. The red channel was created by combining the F814W data and the F658W data. The green channel was created by combining the F814W and the F555W data. The F555W data was used for the blue channel.
The original Hubble data was acquired on July 14 and July 18, 2004.
Click on the image below to see a higher resolution image. A higher resolution image can also be found at my AstroBin gallery at this link.