A foggy couple was noticed in the Small Magellanic Cloud, acting as a time capsule from an earlier cosmic epoch.
The Milky Way is the largest galaxy “in the region”, but this does not mean that it is alone. Thanks to its powerful gravitational influence, it grappled with several smaller galaxies in the process of evolution 13 billion years ago, which remain in its orbit to this day. In the end, these “satellites” resemble a galactic monster, but the Hubble Space Telescope managed to enlarge the center of one of them and get colorful pictures of the nebula during the festive season.
These are two overlapping nebulae inside the Small Magellanic Cloud (MMO), a dwarf galaxy located a little less than 200,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers often study MMOs (and his older brother - Big Magellanic Cloud), since it can easily be viewed in the southern hemisphere. Since they are very close, observatories such as Hubble can study the stars and nebulae inside them. In this case, the foggy pair of NGC 248 has been demonstrated.
Originally discovered by the English astronomer John Herschel in 1834, NGC 248 is two hydrogen clouds glowing under the influence of heat emanating from the stars they contain. Although this beautiful holiday picture was not the only purpose of observation. As part of a project to study the evolution of dust and gas of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMIDGE), scientists wanted to understand why other galaxies outside the Milky Way are so depleted of dust, while the Milky Way does not have any problems. The IMO contains 10–20% of the amount of dust in our galaxy and SMIDGE is trying to figure out why there are so few heavy elements in it that are needed to form an abundance of dust. It’s as if this small satellite galaxy were a remnant of our ancient universe, even before the heavy elements were distributed that filled such large objects as the Milky Way. Thus, there is hope that we will get even more clues about how our galaxy was formed and why it is different from these ancient dwarf objects. ”
“This is important for understanding our history,” says lead researcher Karin Sandstrom of the University of California at San Diego. - “Dust is a necessary component of the principle of the galaxy and the formation of stars.”