- The Hubble Space Telescope operated by NASA and ESA has returned another stunning image of a region of space.
- The spherical star cluster known as NGC 1805 is a collection of stars of varying ages and intensity.
- Blue stars burn hot and emit UV light, while red stars turn off infrared light, and Hubble can capture both thanks to its position above the Earth’s atmosphere.
The image above may look like a perfectly timed capture of a firework bursting in midair, but it is actually a distant collection of stars called NGC 1805. This is what is called a circular cluster of stars, and you can see why. The image was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and aside from being a gorgeous piece of stellar eye candy on one side, it is also a terrific example of why space telescopes are so important to our understanding of space.
As the Hubble website states, the cluster is a densely filled collection of stars that are much closer to our Sun than any star. The stars are “100 to 1,000 times closer to the Sun”, one more than the other, which is very unreliable.
With so many stars in the same region, you might wonder what kind of planets are orbiting them. If the planets were orbiting these stars, they would have an incredible view, but the Hubble team says the difference is small. When stars are formed and such proximity occurs, the system of planets around those stars is “unlikely” according to scientists.
As the incredible variations we see in the image, it is actually a retainer in the way the image was captured as well as the difference in the stars. Stars showing the blue color in the image are found using near-ultraviolet light. They burn more hot than orange and red stars, which emit more near-infrared light. The fact that we can see all of these stars is thanks to Hubble being a space telescope rather than being ground-based.
Full size image available here:
Earth’s atmosphere is actually good at absorbing most of the UV light. Some UV light still speaks through the medium, but ground-based telescopes cannot capture this image in the same way that a space telescope can. To deal with Earth’s atmosphere, Hubble can detect UV light as well as infrared light, drawing a much clearer picture of this particular region of space.
“Usually, spherical clusters have stars that are born at the same time; However, NGC 1805 is unusual, as it appears to host two different populations of stars over millions of years, ”explains the Hubble team. “Observing such clusters of stars can help astronomers understand how stars evolve, and what factors determine whether they end their lives as white dwarfs, or as supernovas Let’s explode. ”