Sunday, June 16, 2024

Hubble Sees Sparkling Globular Cluster in Milky Way’s Bulge

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The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a spectacularly detailed image of the Galactic bulge globular cluster NGC 6569.

This Hubble image shows NGC 6569, a globular cluster located in the constellation of Sagittarius. The color image was made from separate exposures taken in the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). Three filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / R. Cohen.

NGC 6569 was discovered on July 13, 1784 by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel.

This globular cluster is located approximately 3,000 parsecs (9,785 light-years) from the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, in the constellation of Sagittarius.

Also known as ESO 456-77 and GCl 91, NGC 6569 is about 12.8 billion years old, and contains over 20,000 individual stars.

“Globular clusters are stable, tightly bound clusters containing tens of thousands to millions of stars, and are associated with all types of galaxies,” Hubble astronomers said.

“The intense gravitational attraction of these closely packed clusters of stars means that globular clusters have a regular spherical shape with a densely populated center — as can be seen in the heart of this star-studded image of NGC 6569.”

NGC 6569 belongs to the Galactic bulge, a massive and dense region of stars at the heart of the Milky Way.

“The Hubble observation comes from an investigation of globular clusters which lie close to the center of the Milky Way,” the researchers explained.

“These objects have been avoided in previous surveys, as the dust spread throughout the center of our Galaxy blocks light from these globular clusters and alters the colors of the stars residing in them.”

“The last factor is particularly important for astronomers studying stellar evolution, as the colors of stars can give astronomers insights into their ages, compositions, and temperatures.”

“Scientists who proposed these observations combined the Hubble data with data from astronomical archives, allowing them to measure the ages of globular clusters including NGC 6569.”

“Their research also provided insights into the structure and density of globular clusters towards the center of the Milky Way.”

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