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Hubble resolves globular cluster M 4 into multitude of glowing orbs

Date:
September 7, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
A sparkling picture taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the center of globular cluster M 4. The power of Hubble has resolved the cluster into a multitude of glowing orbs, each a colossal nuclear furnace.
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Globular cluster M 4.
Credit: ESA/NASA

A sparkling picture taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the center of globular cluster M 4. The power of Hubble has resolved the cluster into a multitude of glowing orbs, each a colossal nuclear furnace.

M 4 is relatively close to us, lying 7200 light-years distant, making it a prime object for study. It contains several tens of thousands stars and is noteworthy in being home to many white dwarfs -- the cores of ancient, dying stars whose outer layers have drifted away into space.

In July 2003, Hubble helped make the astounding discovery of a planet called PSR B1620-26 b, 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter, which is located in this cluster. Its age is estimated to be around 13 billion years -- almost three times as old as the Solar System! It is also unusual in that it orbits a binary system of a white dwarf and a pulsar (a type of neutron star).

Amateur stargazers may like to track M 4 down in the night sky. Use binoculars or a small telescope to scan the skies near the orange-red star Antares in Scorpius. M 4 is bright for a globular cluster, but it won't look anything like Hubble's detailed image: it will appear as a fuzzy ball of light in your eyepiece.


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The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Hubble resolves globular cluster M 4 into multitude of glowing orbs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907145124.htm>.
NASA. (2012, September 7). Hubble resolves globular cluster M 4 into multitude of glowing orbs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907145124.htm
NASA. "Hubble resolves globular cluster M 4 into multitude of glowing orbs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907145124.htm (accessed April 27, 2015).

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