Dust affects starlight in images
“This colorful image of the globular cluster Terzan 12 is a spectacular example of how dust in space influences the starlight of background objects,” writes the NASA in their blog about the latest Hubble images.
The globular star cluster Terzan 12, around 15,000 light-years from Earth, is located deep in our Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius.
In the Hubble photo, a globular star cluster glitters in the starlight
A globular cluster consists of hundreds of thousands to millions of stars that are tightly bound together by gravity, making the large structures appear spherical when viewed from Earth.
The Hubble telescope is now showing for the first time how gas and dust absorb and thus change the starlight emitted by the globular cluster. A higher concentration of stars can be seen near the center of Terzan 12. This densely packed group shines particularly brightly in the new Hubble photo.
The interstellar dust particles scatter the blue light in the image so that only the reddened wavelengths of the star cluster are visible to us. The brightest red stars in the photo are massive, aging giants that are many times larger than our Sun.
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150 ancient globular star clusters in the Milky Way
The bright blue stars in the photo are not part of Terzan 12; they are in the foreground of the image and are not obscured by interstellar material. This gives the picture a very special impression.
“The Milky Way has approximately 150 ancient globular clusters in its vicinity,” NASA said in a statement. “These clusters orbit around the galactic center but far above and below the flat plane of our galaxy, like bees buzzing around a hive.”
- New images of the Milky Way released from NASA’s Hubble Telescope
- Images show globular star cluster “Terzan 12” in the constellation Sagittarius
- Terzan 12 is approximately 15,000 light-years from Earth
- Hubble telescope shows influence of gas and dust on starlight
- Interstellar dust particles scatter blue light, red wavelengths visible
- Bright blue stars in photo are not part of Terzan 12
- Milky Way has about 150 ancient globular clusters according to NASA