Here's A Hypnotizing New Image Of A Mysterious Ancient Star Cluster

Jennifer Welsh
November 29, 2013

The image below is a stunning close-up look of a mysterious spherical cluster of ancient stars known as the Messier 15 cluster. It's located 35,000 light-years away from us, in the Pegasus constellation, near the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

These ancient stars are about 12 billion years old (our universe is more than 13 billion years old). These globular clusters seems to be created by smaller galaxies that have been cannibalized by larger ones.

The blob of stars hold some mystery to astronomers still. While studying the cluster with Hubble in 2002, they saw something dark and mysterious lurking at its heart. The mystery object could either be a collection of dark neutron stars, or a black hole of unknown mass.

This new image is made up of observations from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys in the ultraviolet, infrared and optical parts of the spectrum. ESA Hubble news released the new image on Nov. 14.

Messier cluster
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Messier cluster

NASA, ESA

They also created an artists' impression of what the cluster would look like in 3-D. Mesmerizing:

messier cluster 3-d impression.gif
View photos
messier cluster 3-d impression.gif

NASA, ESA, and M. Kornmesser



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