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December 20, 2016 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-42

Festive Nebulas Light Up Milky Way Galaxy Satellite

December 20, 2016: Two glowing nebulas in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that is a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy, have been observed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Young, brilliant stars at the center of each nebula are heating hydrogen, causing these clouds of gas and dust to glow red. The image is part of a study called Small Magellanic Cloud Investigation of Dust and Gas Evolution (SMIDGE). Astronomers are using Hubble to probe the Milky Way satellite to understand how dust is different in galaxies that have a far lower supply of heavy elements needed to create dust.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, K. Sandstrom (University of California, San Diego), and the SMIDGE team