Hubble amazes with a new image of a cluster of twinkling stars

Even under clear skies in areas with almost no light pollution, this view falls in space It will look nothing more than a round, misty spot through binoculars.

But in a recent version Hubble Space Telescope(Opens in a new tab) photo, this globular cluster(Opens in a new tab) In the constellation of Sagittarius is a shimmering spread of jewels, scattered over a black velvet blanket. globular clusters(Opens in a new tab) They are tight globular clusters of stars: the disco balls of the universe. This one is called Messier 55, or collectively the “Summer Rose Star.”

Hubble’s advantage is its clear view from low Earth orbit, which makes it possible to resolve individual stars within clusters. Some telescopes on Earth can see the stars of M55 as well, but fewer by comparison. Hubble revolutionized understanding of globular clusters, allowing astronomers to study the types of stars within them. Scientists are also interested in learning how they evolve over time and what role gravity plays in their formation.

Hubble also contributed to the knowledge of the so-called “blue stragglers(Opens in a new tab)found in globular clusters like this one. These objects got their name because they appear bluish and appear smaller than the other stars around them.

Under certain conditions, stars receive extra fuel that puts them on their star steroids, causing them to swell and brighten. Astronomers think this happens when a star pulls in material from a nearby neighbour, or if they slam into each other. This phenomenon causes blue vagrants Benjamin button(Opens in a new tab)regression from old age to hotter, Brad Pitt’s stage of stellar life.

Within Messier 55 are some 100,000 stars, each tingle of light traveling through the universe for 20,000 years before reaching the legendary observatory’s probes, which work cooperatively through NASA and the European Space Agency. This shot is just a portion of the entire range, which spans over 100 light-years.

NASA compares the image of the globular cluster taken by the Digital Sky Survey, a ground-based telescope, left, with the Hubble image.
Image credit: NASA/ESA/A. Sarajedini/M. Libralato/Gladys Kober

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The globular cluster was first observed in 1752 by a French astronomer in present-day South Africa. But a famous observer Charles Messier(Opens in a new tab) He had trouble seeing it when building his site Catalog of nebulae and star clusters(Opens in a new tab)likely because Messier 55 lacks a dense core, and many of its stars are inherently dim, according to NASA(Opens in a new tab). From his Paris observatory, a thick layer of atmosphere and water vapor clouded his view. The object was not registered for another 26 years.

What makes this cluster appear spherical is the intense gravitational force between the stars, which holds them together. Among this group are 55 variable stars whose brightness changes over time.

during March(Opens in a new tab), many amateur and professional astronomers attempt to view all 110 cosmic targets in the northern hemisphere recorded in the Messier catalog. Hubble has taken pictures of almost all of them.

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