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Super-star clusters may be born small and grow by coalescing

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor



Superstar cluter in the making

Lower right: a blue image of the spiral galaxy M101 from the Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey. The box marks the location of NGC 5461.Lower left: A false color image of NGC 5461 made from images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 using filters F547M, F675W, and F656N (displayed in blue, green, and red, respectively). Young stars and clusters will appear predominantly blue, while the ionized interstellar gas appears red.

Credits: NASA, Y.-H. Chu and R. Chen (University of Illinois), and K. Johnson (University of Virginia).

Upper left: A close-up of the core of NGC 5461 taken with the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys using the F435W filter to show the clusters and surrounding star cloud.

Credits: NASA, K.D. Kuntz (University of Maryland Baltimore County).

(1) 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 (ESA).

(2) The Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey was made by the California Institute of Technology with funds from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Sloan Foundation, the Samuel Oschin Foundation, and the Eastman Kodak Corp.