NGC 346, N66

Small Magellanic Cloud

Constellation: Tucana

Distance: 210,000 Light Years


NGC 346 is the brightest star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. NGC 346 represents the open star cluster which illuminates the vast nebula complex known as N66 that spans almost 200 light years across. The stars of NGC 346 are young, having formed only a few million years ago. Recent investigations at x-ray wavelengths have revealed that superheated gases permeate the region of N66 and were likely left over from an ancient supernova event many thousands of years ago.