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A star cluster once thought to be part of the spectacular Orion Nebula is actually a separate celestial entity. Scientists using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii found that the star cluster NGC 1980 is a distinct, massive bunch of stars in front of the Orion nebula, which at a range of 1,500 light-years is Earth's closest known star factory. The cluster is huddled unevenly around the star iota Ori at the southern tip of the sword in the famed Orion constellation.

A month in space: galaxies like fireflies, a bridge of hot gas, and a catastrophic decline in cosmic GDP – in pictures

A star cluster once thought to be part of the spectacular Orion Nebula is actually a separate celestial entity. Scientists using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii found that the star cluster NGC 1980 is a distinct, massive bunch of stars in front of the Orion nebula, which at a range of 1,500 light-years is Earth's closest known star factory. The cluster is huddled unevenly around the star iota Ori at the southern tip of the sword in the famed Orion constellation.

Star cluster NGC 6193 and nebula NGC 6188. Image credit: ESO:

Star cluster NGC 6193 and nebula NGC 6188. Image credit: ESO:

Hodge 301 Hodge 301 is a star cluster located in the Tarantula Nebula about 168,000 light years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy. The Tarantula Nebula is a star forming region, fueled by the star clusters hidden inside.

Hodge 301 Hodge 301 is a star cluster located in the Tarantula Nebula about 168,000 light years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy. The Tarantula Nebula is a star forming region, fueled by the star clusters hidden inside.

The  Phoenix Nebula,  imaged by Hubble's pictures and appears as a star cluster mass with supermassive dust clouds surrounding it.

The Phoenix Nebula, imaged by Hubble's pictures and appears as a star cluster mass with supermassive dust clouds surrounding it.

Messier 5 ~ A globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and…

Messier 5 ~ A globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and…

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the R136 super star cluster, near the center of the 30 Doradus Nebula, also known as the Tarantula Nebula or NGC 2070.

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the R136 super star cluster, near the center of the 30 Doradus Nebula, also known as the Tarantula Nebula or NGC 2070.

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