From Hubble via sci-news.com and AURA: “Terzan 1: Hubble Snaps Breathtaking Picture of Globular Cluster”

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This image from Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 shows the heavily obscured globular cluster Terzan 1. Image credit: ESA / NASA / Judy Schmidt, http://www.geckzilla.com.

Terzan 1, also known as ESO 455-23 and Terzan 1966, is a heavily obscured globular cluster located in the constellation Scorpius. This cluster is one of a dozen globular clusters discovered by the French astronomer Agop Terzan in the 1960s-70s.

Of the 150 globular clusters belonging to our Milky Way Galaxy, about 70 lie within 13,000 light-years from the galactic center where the density of globulars tends to peak.

Terzan 1 has the smallest projected distance to the Milky Way’s center among all known globulars. According to astronomers, it is only 4,200 light-years from the center but 21,800 light-years from Earth.

Like many globular clusters, Terzan 1 contain some of the oldest stars in a galaxy, hence the reddish colors of the stars in this new image from Hubble (bright blue stars are foreground stars, not part of the cluster).

The ages of the stars in the globular cluster tell astronomers that they were formed during the early stages of galaxy formation. Studying them can also help scientists to understand how galaxies formed.

In 1980, astronomers detected X-ray bursts from a source located in Terzan 1. Several years later, the source X1732-304 was detected within the cluster with NASA’s Spacelab 2 and ESA’s EXOSAT missions.

It is likely that these X-rays come from binary star systems that contain a neutron star and a normal star.

“The neutron star drags material from the companion star, causing a burst of X-ray emission. The system then enters a quiescent phase in which the neutron star cools, giving off X-ray emission with different characteristics, before enough material from the companion builds up to trigger another outburst,” Hubble scientists explained.

This image was taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2)NASA Hubble WFPC2.
WFPC2. No longer in service.

A version of the image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition by amateur astronomer Judy Schmidt.

See the full article here .

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The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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