The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a striking new photo of the globular cluster Ruprecht 106.
Globular clusters are densely packed, spherical collections of hundreds of thousands or even millions of stars.
They are among the oldest known objects in the Universe and are preferentially associated with the oldest components of galaxies.
Our own Milky Way Galaxy hosts at least 150 such objects and a few more are likely to exist hidden behind the Galaxy’s thick disk.
“While the constituent stars of globular clusters all formed at approximately the same location and time, it turns out that almost all globular clusters contain groups of stars with distinct chemical compositions,” Hubble astronomers said.
“These distinct chemical fingerprints are left by groups of stars with very slightly different ages or compositions from the rest of the cluster.”
“A tiny handful of globular clusters do not possess these multiple populations of stars, and Ruprecht 106 is a member of this enigmatic group.”
Ruprecht 106 resides approximately 69,100 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus.
Otherwise known as C 1235-509, this globular cluster was discovered in 1961 by the Czech astronomer Jaroslav Ruprecht.
The new color image of Ruprecht 106 is a composite of separate exposures acquired by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
“Much like the stars in globular clusters, Hubble’s instruments also have distinct generations,” the researchers explained.
“ACS is a third generation instrument which replaced the original Faint Object Camera in 2002.”
“Some of Hubble’s other instruments have also gone through three iterations: the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) replaced the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) during the final servicing mission to Hubble.”
“WFPC2 itself replaced the original Wide Field and Planetary Camera 1 (WFPC1), which was installed on Hubble at launch.”
Source link: https://www.sci.news/astronomy/hubble-image-ruprecht-106-10872.html