Resembling curling flames from a campfire, a magnificent
nebula in a nearby galaxy observed by NASA’s Hubble Space
Telescope provides new insight into the fierce birth of stars
as it may have occurred in the early universe.

The picture, taken by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary
Camera 2, is online
at and and . The camera was designed
and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,

The glowing gas cloud, called Hubble-V, has a diameter of
about 200 light-years. A faint tail of gas and dust trailing
off the top of the image sits opposite a dense cluster of
bright stars at the bottom of the irregularly shaped nebula.
Hubble’s resolution and ultraviolet sensitivity reveal a dense
knot of dozens of ultra-hot stars nestled in the nebula. Each
star glows 100,000 times brighter than our Sun. These 4-
million-year-old stars, considered youthful in the cosmic time
scale, are too distant and crowded together to be resolved
from ground-based telescopes. The small, irregular host
galaxy, called NGC 6822, is one of the Milky Way’s closest
neighbors. It lies 1.6 million light-years away in the
direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

The Hubble-V image data was taken by two science teams:
C. Robert O’Dell
of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. and collaborators,
and Luciana Bianchi of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
Md., and Osservatorio Astronomico, Torinese, Italy, and
collaborators. This color image was produced by the Hubble
Heritage Team at the Space Telescope Science Institute,
Baltimore, Md.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.,
for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, Md. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of
international cooperation between NASA and the European Space
Agency. JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena. Additional information about the
Hubble Space Telescope is available at More information about the Wide
Field and Planetary Camera 2 is available at

Credits: NASA, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgment: C. R. O’Dell (Vanderbilt University) and L.
Bianchi (Johns Hopkins University and Osservatorio
Astronomico, Torinese, Italy)