Friday, August 12

Hubble Space Telescope shows the globular cluster Terzan 2 | Digital Trends Spanish


The James Webb Space Telescope might be getting all the news headlines this week, but the grand old lady of the space telescope world, the Hubble Space Telescope, continues to look out into the cosmos and provide stunning views of space. More than 30 years old, Hubble remains one of the key instruments for examining cosmic objects in the visible light range, capturing views of everything from distant galaxies to beautiful nebulae and planets in our solar system.

The image shared this week from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a globular cluster called Terzan 2with a blanket of bright stars visible by the thousands against the blackness of the sky.

The globular cluster Terzan 2 in the constellation of Scorpius is featured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observation.ESA/Hubble and NASA, R. Cohen

“Globular clusters are stable, gravitationally tightly bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars found in a wide variety of galaxies,” explain Hubble scientists. “The strong gravitational pull between tightly packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape. As this Terzan 2 image illustrates, the hearts of globular clusters are filled with a multitude of bright stars.”

If this image looks familiar, it might be because it resembles an earlier Hubble image showing another globular cluster called Terzan 9. Despite their similar appearance, however, they are found in different regions of the sky. Terzan 9 is in the constellation of Sagittarius, while Terzan 2 is in the constellation of Scorpio.

Both images were taken using two of Hubble’s instruments, the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3, in concert. “Despite having only one primary mirror, Hubble’s design allows for multiple instruments to survey astronomical objects,” the Hubble scientists write. “Light from distant astronomical objects enters Hubble, where the telescope’s 8-foot primary mirror collects it. The primary directs that light to the secondary mirror that reflects the light deep into the telescope, where smaller mirrors can direct the light to individual instruments.”

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