Photo credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Kalirai
To start things off, a globular cluster basically refers to a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core. They are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them this shape, and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers. With that said, NASA’s Hubble captured a stunning image of globular cluster NGC 1805, where many colorful stars are densely packed and located near the edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. Read more for a video on globular clusters and additional information.
Think of these stars orbiting closely to one another like bees swarming around a hive. If you travel to the center of one of these clusters, you’ll discover that the stars are 100 to 1000 times closer together than the nearest stars are to our Sun, making planetary systems around them unlikely. Should you have a powerful enough telescope, this young globular cluster can be spotted from the southern hemisphere, in the Dorado constellation.
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The striking difference in star colours is illustrated beautifully in this image, which combines two different types of light: blue stars, shining brightest in near-ultraviolet light, and red stars, illuminated in red and near-infrared. Space telescopes like Hubble can observe in the ultraviolet because they are positioned above Earth’s atmosphere, which absorbs most of this wavelength, making it inaccessible to ground-based facilities,” said the Hubble team.