Stellar Cluster NGC 1850 in the LMC
[The image] shows that there is indeed still much gas around NGC 1850. While part of this may well be the remnant of the “parent” gas cloud (i.e. the one from which both clusters were born), the presence of filaments and of various sharp “shocks”, e.g. to the left and below NGC 1850, offers support to the theory of supernova-induced star birth in the younger of the two clusters. Some “protostars” are located near or in some of the filaments — this is interpreted as additional evidence for that theory. The nebulosity directly above the main cluster, that is shaped like a “3”, is the well-known supernova remnant N57D which itself may also be associated with NGC 1850.
I figured a straight quote from the ESO site would explain a good chunk of why this image is so cool. I’d include all the technical specs, but I’m sure those who actually care will probably click through and read them.
The brief overview is that this is a 300 x 300 light-year2 composite from one of the unit telescopes at the Very Large Telescope, VLT, down in Chile. Three filters, including a Hydrogen-alpha filter in the familiar red, were used to bring out as much intricate detail as possible, especially in the gas filaments.
Note that this shot is from just one of the main unit telescopes at the VLT. If all four telescopes are used in interferometry mode, they have a resolving power that would be like being able to differentiate the headlights on a car at the distance of the Moon.