Look at the sparkling cluster of stars: it is closer to the center of the galaxy than the Earth

The Hubble Space Telescope took a photograph of a brilliant globular cluster of stars called NGC 6558.

Image taken withNASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys. NGC 6558 is closer to the center of the Milky Way than Earth. The cluster is about 23,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.

Globular clusters such as NGC 6558 are closelyassociated clusters containing from tens of thousands to millions of stars. They can be found in a wide variety of galaxies. As recent observations show, stars in globular clusters can be tightly packed. The new image is dotted with stars in a wide variety of hues. Some of the brightest inhabitants of this globular cluster are surrounded by prominent diffraction peaks, which are imaging artifacts caused by starlight interacting with Hubble's inner workings.

Photo: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. ESA/Hubble, R. Cohen

Globular clusters for astronomers are naturallaboratories to test theories about star formation. The fact is that in a globular cluster they formed at about the same time with the same initial composition. Thus, it is possible to observe how different stars develop under similar conditions.

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