Heart in Darkness | Space Wallpaper

NGC 346 Young Star Cluster

About this Image

This fascinating Chandra X-Ray Observatory space wallpaper of the young star cluster NGC 346 highlights a heart-shaped cloud of 8 million-degree Celsius gas in the central region. Evidence from radio, optical and ultraviolet telescopes suggests that the hot cloud, which is about 100 light years across, is the remnant of a supernova explosion that occurred thousands of years ago. The progenitor could have been a companion of the massive young star that is responsible for the bright X-ray source at the top center of the image. This young star, HD 5980, one of the most massive known, has been observed to undergo dramatic eruptions during the last decade.

Credit: NASA/CXC/U.Liege/Y.Nazé et al.

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