The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope continues to scrutinize the Universe and, even after decades of spectacular images, it never ceases to leave us breathless. This time he captured a particular interstellar cluster, 100 million years old, “doubling” the result. Look at that show!
Although the two images (which you find at the end of the article) may seem very different from each other, in reality they represent the same cosmic object: the globular cluster known as NGC 1850. Indeed, Hubble took both images with the same instrument, but different filters were used, with different colors to study particular wavelengths of the light emitted.
In fact, the blue image includes some near-infrared light, together with visible light (the one that our own eyes can perceive), while the red image covers a much wider range of the spectrumfrom the near ultraviolet (ideal for detecting the light of the hottest and youngest stars) up to the infrared limit.
The subject of the photo, located about 160,000 light-years away from usoccupies a portion of space in the Large Magellanic Clouda satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, known to be the birthplace of billions of stars.
Furthermore, as can be clearly seen in the images, typical of globular clusters is a concentrated set of stars, held together by mutual gravitational attraction. Unlike then our Milky Way, in the specific case of NGC 1850we are faced with a stellar agglomeration with relatively young celestial bodies.
Some curiosities: the mass of NGC 1850 it is about 63,000 times that of the Sun and its core has a diameter of about 20 light-years. Inside, to keep “company” to a black holethere are about 200 red giants and many brighter blue stars (visible on the right in the second image) that burn more intensely than the others, dooming them to a premature end.
So all that remains is admire the gorgeous pair of photoswhich you can enjoy in full resolution directly from the official website of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. A Universe full of stars which, day after day, leaves us speechless thanks also to Hubble which continues to give us unique images.
Image credits: NASA, ESA and N. Bastian (Donostia International Physics Center); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)