This Hubble image shows a scene within the bounds of our galactic neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy. This particular object, called NGC 1466, is a type of star cluster called a globular cluster — a group of stars that are held together by gravity and which move together through the edges of the LMC. It is located 160,000 light-years away from Earth. Together, NGC 1466 weighs the equivalent of 140,000 of our Sun and is extremely old. Scientists calculate it is 13.1 billion years old, which is nearly as old as the universe itself. The object provides more than just a pretty picture, however. Observations from Hubble have revealed more about how star clusters form and grow. Because star clusters are active and evolving, with structures that change over time, larger and heavier stars tend to sink towards the middle of the cluster. Over time, the core of the cluster contracts. However, there’s something odd about the star clusters in the LMC. The younger clusters are compact, while older clusters come in both compact and diffuse forms. The new research suggests this can be understood by looking at a type of “re-invigorated star” called a blue straggler. These… Read full this story
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