Astronomy Picture of the Day



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#53063 by @ 15.10.2004 00:00 - nach oben -
Glimpse of a Globular Star Cluster


Explanation:

Not a glimpse of
this cluster of stars
can be seen
in the inset visible light image (lower right).

Still,
the infrared view
from the Spitzer
Space Telescope reveals
a massive globular star cluster of about 300,000 suns in
an apparently empty region of sky in the constellation Aquila.

When astronomers used
infrared cameras to peer
through obscuring dust in the plane of our
Milky Way galaxy,
they were rewarded with the surprise discovery of the
star cluster, likely one of the last such
star clusters
to be found.

Globular star clusters normally
roam
the halo of the Milky Way,
ancient relics
of our galaxy's formative years.

Yet the Spitzer image shows this otherwise hidden cluster
crossing through
the middle of the galactic plane some 10,000 light-years away.

At that distance, the picture spans only about 20 light-years.

In the false color infrared image, the red streak is a dust cloud
which seems to lie behind the cluster core.




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