This sparkly orb of stars is the globular cluster NGC 1898, which lies near the center of the Large Magellanic Cloud — one of our nearest cosmic neighbors. The Large Magellanic Cloud is a dwarf galaxy that hosts a remarkably rich population of star clusters, making it an excellent laboratory for examining star formation.
Found in November 1834 by British astronomer John Herschel, NGC 1898 has been studied many times by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Today we know that globular clusters are some of the oldest known objects in the universe and that they are remains of the first epochs of galaxy structure. While we now have a pretty good picture on the globular clusters of the Milky Way — still with many unanswered questions — our studies on globular clusters in nearby dwarf galaxies just started. The observations of NGC 1898 will help to decide whether their features are related to the ones found in the Milky Way, or if they have different characteristics, due to being in a different cosmic environment.
This image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text: European Space Agency (ESA)